Home fires involving clothes dryers and washing machines

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Report: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines"
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
Issued: September 2012

This report is an overview of home structure fires involving clothes dryers and washing machines and includes statistics by factor contributing to ignition, item first ignited and area of origin.

Executive Summary

In 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage.

Washer and dryer fires were mostly level from 1980 to 1998, with only a slight decline in the first years of the period to break the pattern. After some volatility during the transition years as NFIRS Version 5.0 was introduced, the estimates have settled into a new trend with wider year-to-year variations and a trend line slightly lower than the lowest levels of 1980-1998. Civilian injuries have stabilized in a range comparable to that seen in the 1990s. Direct property damage after adjustment for inflation is varying year to year but around a generally higher average then those seen prior to 1999.

In 2010, clothes dryers and washing machines accounted for 4.5% of all reported home structure fires, 1.9% of associated civilian deaths, 2.8% of associated civilian injuries, and 3.1% of associated direct property damage.