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"Natural Gas and LP-Gas Home Structure Fires" report (PDF, 796 KB)

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Report: NFPA's "Natural Gas and LP-Gas Home Structure Fires"
Author: Jennifer Flynn
Issued: January 2010 

An analysis of structure fires in homes in which type of material first ignited was either natural gas or LP-gas, during 2003-2007. Fires are examined by time, day, and month, as well as leading causes, factors contributing to ignition, and extent of flame damage.

Executive Summary

In Version 5.0 of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS,) natural gas, including methane and marsh gas, is identified by type of material first ignited code 11. Homes in this analysis include: one- or two-family dwellings, manufactured homes, duplexes, and multifamily dwellings, including apartments, town houses, row houses, and tenements. These are identified by property use codes 419-429 and structure fires are identified by incident type 110-129. Only fires reported to municipal fire departments are included in these statistics. Only fires in which natural gas was first ignited are included in this analysis. Fires in which natural gas contributed to the fire growth after ignition are not included.Supporting tables are provided at the end of this section.

Natural gas was the type of material first ignited in an estimated annual average of 2,110 structure fires in homes per year in 2003-2007. 

In 2007, 64.9 million U.S. households used natural gas. During 2003-2007, an estimated 2,110 home structure fires started annually with the ignition of natural gas. These fires resulted in an annual average of 43 civilian fire deaths, 152 civilian fire injuries, and $59 million in direct property damage during the same time period. Explosions with no after-fire are not included. Table A provides a breakdown of losses by incident type, non-confined and confined fires.

In natural gas home fires, structure fires were the most common incident type. Structure fires accounted for 69% of the fires in or on home properties that began with natural gas. Ninety-nine percent of all natural gas home fire civilian deaths reported during this time period occurred in structure fires.Ninety percent of civilian fire injuries in homes occurred in structure fires as do ninety-seven percent of direct property damage.