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Home cooking fires

Report: NFPA's "Home Cooking Fires"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: July 2020



Report highlights

  • US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 172,900 home structure fires per year started by cooking activities in 2014-2018. These fires caused an average of 550 civilian deaths, 4,820 reported civilian fire injuries, and more than $1 billion in direct property damage per year.
  • Home fires caused by cooking peaked at Thanksgiving and Christmas. In 2018, fire departments responded to an average of 470 home cooking fires per day.
  • Ranges or cooktops were involved in the 61% of reported home cooking fires, 87% of cooking fire deaths and 78% of cooking fire injuries.
  • Households that use electric ranges have a higher risk of cooking fires and associated losses than those using gas ranges.
  • Unattended cooking was the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties. Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions led to 8% of the home cooking fire deaths.
  • More than one-quarter of the people killed by cooking fires were sleeping at the time. More than half of the non-fatal injuries occurred when people tried to control the fire themselves.
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