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Report: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires That Began with Decorations"
John R. Hall, Jr.
Issued: November 2013

This analysis of home fires beginning with decorations includes information on when these fires occur, area of origin, recent trends and causal factors.

Executive Summary

During the five-year-period of 2007-2011, NFPA estimates that decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 920 reported home structure fires per year. These fires caused an estimated average of six civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries and $12.9 million in direct property damage per year. These estimates are based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) annual fire department experience survey.

One-fifth of the home structure decoration fires occurred in December. Nearly half (47%) of home structure decoration fires occurred because the decoration was too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles. One-fifth (21%) started in the living room, family room, or den.