NFPA's "Fires Starting with Flammable Gas or Flammable or Combustible Liquid
John R. Hall, Jr.
In 2007-2011, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an estimated average of 51,600 fires per year starting with ignition of a flammable gas and another 160,910 fires per year starting with ignition of a flammable or combustible liquid. The flammable gas fires resulted in an estimated 168 civilian deaths, 1,029 civilian injuries, and $644 million in direct property damage per year. The flammable or combustible liquid fires resulted in an estimated 454 civilian deaths, 3,910 civilian injuries, and $1.5 billion in direct property damage per year.
Flammable gas fires nearly all involve natural gas or LP gas. Flammable or combustible liquid fires nearly all involve unclassified or unknown-type flammable or combustible liquid, Class IIIB combustible liquids, Class II combustible liquids, or gasoline. Most fires involve gas or liquid fuels for heating or cooking or involve cooking oils used as a medium to heat food during cooking.
Flammable gas or flammable or combustible liquid fires declined substantially from 1980 to 1998, then jumped when NFIRS Version 5.0 was introduced. More recent years have generally shown no consistent trend up or down.