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Report: NFPA's "Home Candle Fires"
Marty Ahrens
Issued: December 2015

This report includes an analysis of causes and trends in home fires involving candles, candle fire frequency in other occupancies, and selected published incident descriptions.

Executive Summary

During the five-year period of 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 9,300 home structure fires started by candles per year.  These fires caused an annual average of 86 civilian deaths, 827 civilian fire injuries, and $374 million in direct property damage. 

On average, 25 home candle fires were reported per day. 

Candles caused 3% of total reported home fires, and home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 5% of associated direct property damage during 2009-2013. Candles ranked eighth among the leading cause categories in number of fires, tied for sixth in home fire deaths, also ranked sixth in home fire injuries, and ranked seventh in direct property damage.1

Candle fires ranked second among the major causes in rate of injury per thousand fires and average loss per fire. During this period, home candles caused 9.2 deaths and 88.9 injuries per thousand fires, as well as an average loss of $40,000 per fire. In contrast, home structure fires overall caused 6.9 deaths and 36.1 injuries per thousand reported home fires with an average loss of $19,000 per fire.  

1 Marty Ahrens. Home Structure Fires, Quincy, MA:  National Fire Protection Association, 2015, p. 19. 

Home candle fires by leading areas of origin and time of year

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