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Structure Fires Started by Hot Work

Report: NFPA's "Structure Fires Started by Hot Work"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: June 2021

Report highlights

  • US fire departments responded to an average of 4,580 structure fires involving hot work per year in 2014–2018. These fires caused an average of 22 civilian deaths, 171 civilian injuries, and $484 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Of the fires involving hot work, 43 percent occurred in or on homes, including one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multifamily homes, while 57 percent occurred in or on non-home properties.
  • Welding torches ranked first among the type of hot work equipment involved in fires with 36 percent of the fires.  The leading types of hot work equipment involved in structure fires were different in homes than in non-home properties.
  • The peak areas for home fires involving hot work were wall assemblies or concealed spaces (16 percent) and bathrooms or lavatories (13 percent). Exterior roof surfaces (12 percent) and processing or manufacturing areas (11 percent) were the leading areas of origin for non-home fires.
  • From 2001-2018, five firefighters were fatally injured in four unintentional fires started by torches.


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