Report: NFPA's "Manufactured Home Fires"
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
Issued: September 2013
Manufactured home (i.e., mobile home) fire experience, patterns, and trends are analyzed in this report, which also examines the impact of the 1976 federal standards and fire risks relative to other types of dwellings.
During the five-year period of 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 11,400 structure fires in manufactured homes per year, with annual losses of 206 civilian deaths, 434 civilian injuries and $179 million in direct property damage. In 2011, 10,800 structure fires were reported in manufactured homes in the U.S. These fires had associated losses of 161 civilian deaths, 490 civilian injuries, and $151 million in direct property damage.
Civilian fire deaths and direct damage, the two loss measures least affected by estimation problems have declined by about 60% since 1980. Civilian injuries, which are probably under-estimated, have declined by less than half. Fires, which are also probably under-estimated, have declined by nearly two-thirds.
Manufactured homes built after the introduction of the HUD standards have lower rates of civilian deaths per hundred reported fires than those built before the HUD standards were introduced. The 2007-2011 death rate was 57% lower for post-standard manufactured home than for pre-standard manufactured homes. There are so few deaths in fires with year of manufacture reported among 2007-2011 fires that these estimates should be regarded with caution.
Looking at manufactured home fires by year of manufacture, the 2007-2011 average fire rate per 100,000 manufactured homes drops around the time when the HUD standards were introduced, but there is no statistical evidence that any change since then has produced enough risk reduction in enough units to produce a noticeable additional drop in the rate of fires per 100,000 units for recently manufactured units.
Manufactured homes had a 2007-2011 fire death rate per 100,000 housing units that was roughly the same as the rate for other one- or two-family homes, relative to occupied year-round units.