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NFPA members
"Structure Fires in Educational Properties" report (PDF, 2 MB) 
Errata incorporated October 28, 2013. Download the errata. (PDF, 87 KB)

Fact sheet
"Structure Fires in Educational Properties" fact sheet (PDF, 383 KB)  
Errata incorporated October 28, 2013. Download the errata. (PDF, 59 KB)

Top ten largest-loss educational structure fires

U.S. school fires, grades K-12, with 10 or more deaths

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

Issued: September 2013

Overview of the educational fire problem. The report has been broken down into three subsections: Day-Care Centers, Pre-k through Grade 12 Education Properties, and College Classroom Buildings and Adult Education Centers. The report includes trend tables, causes, time of day, day of week, month of year, and area of origin. Also includes published incident descriptions, published articles and investigation reports and summaries.

Executive Summary

Educational properties include day-care centers, public, private or parochial boarding schools, trade or business schools, and college or university classroom buildings. Fires in dormitories, fraternity or sororities houses are not included in this analysis, but are discussed in Structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks. Fires in educational properties accounted for 1% of all reported structure fires in 2007-2011.

This report further divides property use into three categories: 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, with an estimated average of 4,060 structure fires per year reported in these properties (71% of the educational property total) in 2007-2011. Over half (54%) of the fires in these properties occurred between 9 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Half (49%) of the fires in these properties were set intentionally. One-third (32%) of the fires in these schools occurred in a lavatory or bathroom and 13% began in a kitchen or cooking area.

An estimated 700 structure fires per year were reported between 2007 and 2011 in college classrooms and adult education centers. Nearly three-quarters of the fires (73%) took place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Cooking equipment was responsible for half (51%) of the fires in these properties. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment was responsible for 5% of fires but 18% of direct property damage.

Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 580 structure fires was reported annually in day care centers. Nearly two-thirds (%) of these fires occurred between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Cooking equipment was the cause of two-thirds (66%) of fires, far more than any other cause. Most fires in these properties were small, as 82% didn’t spread beyond the object of origin.

Fires in educational properties