Home structure fires involving kitchen equipment other than cooking equipment

Report: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Kitchen Equipment Other Than Cooking Equipment"
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
Issued: November 2012

The topic of this report is kitchen equipment other than cooking equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers. The report includes statistics by equipment type, factor contributing to ignition, item first ignited and area of origin. Suggested safety tips are also included.

Executive Summary

In 2006-2010, an estimated 2,920 reported U.S. home structure fires involving kitchen equipment excluding cooking equipment resulted in annual averages of six civilian deaths, 82 civilian injuries, and $75 million in direct property damage1.

Nearly all home fires involving kitchen equipment excluding cooking equipment specifically involve refrigerators and freezers or dishwashers.

Refrigerators, separate freezers, and separate ice makers together were involved in 1,710 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments per year in 2006-2010. These fires resulted in two civilian deaths, 56 civilian injuries, and $50 million in direct property damage per year.

Dishwashers were involved in 1,130 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments per year in 2006-2010. These fires resulted in two civilian deaths, 19 civilian injuries, and $23 million in direct property damage per year.

The other equipment types in this group – garbage disposer, blender, juicer, food processor, can opener, coffee grinder, and knife sharpener – collectively were involved in 90 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments per year in 2006-2010.

Roughly three out of five 2006-2010 home structure fires involving refrigerators, separate freezers, or separate ice makers began with ignition of appliance housing or casing (31%) or wire or cable insulation (30%).

Roughly three-fourths of 2006-2010 home non-confined structure fires involving dishwashers also began with ignition of appliance housing or casing (47%) or wire or cable insulation (26%).

One-third (34%) of 2006-2010 home non-confined structure fires involving refrigerators, separate freezers, or separate ice makers began in a room other than the kitchen, starting with the garage (12%). Only 5% of 2006-2010 home non-confined structure fires involving dishwashers began in an area other than the kitchen.

The fire statistics in this report are estimates derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire experience survey.

Refrigerators, separate freezers, and separate ice makers were involved in an estimated 49,660 injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms in 2011. Most of these injuries did not involve burns or fire but instead involved sprains or strains, contusions or abrasions, lacerations, or fractures. Dishwashers were involved in 9,790 injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms in 2011.

This report complements Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment by Marty Ahrens, published in November 2012.

1All statistics exclude 234 fires per year reported as confined to cooking vessel, fuel burner or boiler, chimney or flue, compactor or incinerator, or trash.

Home fires involving kitchen equipment

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 USA
Telephone: +1 617 770-3000 Fax: +1 617 770-0700