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Young firesetters

Young firesetters cause hundreds of deaths and injuries each year. Preschoolers and kindergartners are most likely to start these fires, typically by playing with matches and lighters, and are most likely to die in them.

Facts & figures

  • Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 49,300 fires involving playing with fire were reported to U.S. municipal fire departments per year. These fires caused annual averages of 80 civilian deaths, 860 civilian injuries, and $235 million in property damage.

  • Younger children were more likely to set fires in homes, while older children and teenagers are more likely to set fires outside
  • Males were are more likely to engage in fire-play than females, as 83% of  home structure fires and 93% of outside or unclassified fires were set by boys when age was coded as a factor
  • Lighters were the heat source in just over half (52%) of fires in homes
    involving play
  • 39% of home fires involving play began in a bedroom
Source: NFPA's "Children Playing with Fire" report


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