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Report: NFPA's "Structure Fires in Educational Properties"
Author: Richard Campbell

Issued: January 2016

Educational properties include day-care centers; nursery, elementary, middle, junior, and high schools; and college classroom buildings and adult education centers. Most fires in educational properties occurred in nursery, elementary, middle, or high schools. Based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System and the NFPA Fire Experience Survey, we estimated annual fires and losses during 2009-2013. 

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 5,100 structure fires in educational properties, annually, which accounts for 1% of all structure fires. 
  • These fires caused an annual average of one civilian death, 79 civilian fire injuries and $88 million in direct property damage. 
  • An estimated 650 structure fires per year were reported in college classrooms and adult education centers (13%), while an average of 580 structure fires (11%) was reported annually in day care centers.
  • Intentionally set fires were the leading cause of fires in educational properties taken as a whole, accounting for nearly two of five of fires in these properties (38%).
  • Almost 30% of the fires in educational properties began in a lavatory or locker room, while 20% of fires began in a kitchen or cooking area.  

Structure fires in educational properties 2009-2013