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Reports and statistics about cooking fires and safety

In 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 172,100 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment per year. These fires caused an average of 530 civilian fire deaths, 5,270 civilian fire injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.

graph showing leading factors in home cooking fires 
NFPA offers a wealth of great reports and statistics related to cooking fires and safety, and related issues.

Cooking by the numbers (Based on 2012-2016 annual averages)

  • Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 15% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • Ranges accounted for almost two-thirds (63%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • More than half (55%) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

NFPA report: Home Cooking Fires
November 2018
Analysis of patterns and trends in all measures of fire loss for all types of home cooking equipment and all fuel and power types, including leading causes of ignition and analysis of relative risks. Also provides safety tips and published home cooking fire incidents.

NFPA report: Selected Published Incidents Involving Grills
May 2007; Revised 2012
This report includes articles from NFPA publications about fires involving grills. Included are short articles from the "Firewatch" or "Bi-monthly" columns in NFPA Journal or it predecessor Fire Journal and incidents from either the large-loss fires report or catastrophic fires report. If available, investigation reports or NFPA Alert Bulletins are included and provide detailed information about the fires.

Research Foundation report: Development of Standardized Cooking Fires for Evaluation of Prevention Technologies

July 2014
Beginning in 2010, the Foundation began a program to review the potential effectiveness of various technologies potentially capable of preventing cooking range top fires. A workshop conducted as part of that project considered the emergence of commercial products on the market and identified the need to develop standardized tests and criteria to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of such devices. This report summarizes and analyzes the results of two live fire test series conducted to form the basis for such a test protocol.

Holiday cooking

In 2016, Thanksgiving was the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. 

Date     Fires   Percent above average number of fires per day
 November 24 (Thanksgiving)
 December 25 (Christmas)
 December 24 (Christmas Eve)

Source: Home Cooking Fires, November 2018