Overview of the educational fire problem. The report has been broken down into three subsections: Day-Care Centers, Pre-k through Grade 12 Education Properties, and College Classroom Buildings and Adult Education Centers. The report includes trend tables, causes, time of day, day of week, month of year, and area of origin. Also includes published incident descriptions, published articles and investigation reports and summaries.
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In 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 6,260 structure fires in educational properties, annually. These fires caused an annual average of 85 civilian fire injuries and $112 million in direct property damage. There were no civilian fire deaths due to structure fires reported in these properties during this time period. Educational properties include day-care centers, public, private or parochial boarding schools, trade or business schools, and colleges or universities, excluding dormitories, fraternity or sororities houses. Fires in educational properties accounted for 1.2% of all reported structure fires in 2005-2009.
This report further divides property use into three categories: day-care centers; nursery, elementary, middle, junior, and high schools; and college classroom buildings and adult education centers.
Between 2005 and 2009 an average of 590 structure fires were reported annually in day-care centers. Two-thirds of these fires occurred between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Cooking equipment was the cause of 64% of fires, far more than any other cause. Most fires in these properties were small, as 82% didn’t spread beyond the object of origin.
Most fires in educational properties occurred in nursery, elementary, middle, junior or high schools, as 4,510 (72%) structure fires per year are reported at these properties. Most fires occur during the day, peaking at lunch time. About half (51%) of the fires in these properties were set intentionally. Nearly one-third (31%) of the fires in these schools occurred in a lavatory or bathroom, 11% began in a kitchen or cooking area.
An estimated 750 structure fires per year were reported between 2005 and 2009 in college classrooms and adult education centers. These fires were most common during the afternoon and early evening hours. Cooking equipment was responsible for half (50%) of the fires in these properties. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment was responsible for 5% of fires but 23% of direct property damage.