Top 5 Causes of House Fires in the U.S

by | Apr 26, 2021 | Fire Damage, Fire Damage Repairs, Reconstruction, Restoration

As per The National Fire Protection Association, there are as many as 400,000 house fires every year in the United States, with an average loss of $7 billion in damage.

A house fire is the worst nightmare for any house owner. If overlooked, everyday household chores that we indulge in have the potential to cause a house fire. Preventing fire at a residential property is a significant challenge that needs careful planning and expert foresight. On the flip side, if the disaster does happen, it will be weeks or months until you recover from the havoc left behind.

We recommend engaging with a professional fire restoration company when if the unthinkable happens. However, to prevent is the smartest move, and to achieve this, it is ideal to better understand the common causes of house fires. This piece of content highlights the top causes of house fires in the United States.


 Cooking fire is the most prominent cause of house fire in the U.S. While unattended cooking is the main culprit, open flames from the stove and excessive heat from cooking equipment such as ovens and microwaves also trigger house fires. A grease fire is another major home cooking fire type that often raises serious concerns. The fact that grease fires can escalate on adding water or water-based fire extinguisher makes grease fire dangerous.

Home cooking safety tips 

  • If a fire in the kitchen escalates, try smothering its progress by turning the appliance off and covering the source with a metal lid.
  • A portable stove or other cooking equipment should be cleaned and cooled off before being stored.
  • Do not leave the kitchen unattended while cooking
  • Keep anything that could catch fire away from the fire sources/equipment, including stove and oven.


Heating equipment is the third major cause of house fire deaths in the United States. Careless or irresponsible handling and usage of heating equipment are regarded as the leading cause of house fires.

House heating equipment safety tips:

  • Keep combustible materials including bed sheets, drapes, and carpets away from the heating equipment
  • Purchase high-quality heating equipment, keep in mind that cheap electric heaters could feature low standard wiring
  • Never leave the heater unattended to turn on for a prolonged duration to heat the room in advance. Buying a heater with a timer and a tip senor is a smart move
  • Make sure that the heater is adequately cooled off before being stored away


 Electrical equipment fire (fires from electrical equipment such as lighting, cords, plugs, and wiring) contributed to an average of 34000 house fires per year from 2014-18. Electrical fires can be a bit aggressive and can spread quickly as the wiring and the appliances are usually distributed throughout residential properties.

Electrical fire safety tips:

  • Ensure that the wiring and the other electrical appliances meet minimum standards.
  • Maintain the electrical devices turned off when you are not at home
  • Do a thorough inspection of the wiring and circuits at least once a year by a certified professional


 In 2014 alone, smoking materials (mainly cigarettes, pipes, and cigars) accounted for around 17200 house fires in the United States. The main origin of house smoking fires is usually the outdoor balcony and the open porch.

Leading areas of origin in home structure fires started by smoking materials

Smoking Safety tips:

  • Using fire-safe cigarettes can help to contain smoking fires
  • There is a high mortality rate for smoking fires that originated in the living room, bedroom, or family rooms; consider this to smoke outdoors
  • Keep the smoking materials, including cigarettes and lighter, away from the reach of children
  • Use a high fire-resistant ashtray and keep it on a plane and firm ground


Candles are sources of an open flame with the potential to ignite any combustible material. Candles are one of the major causes of house structure fire and deaths in the United States. More than one-third of house candle fires in the United States originate in the bedroom.

Candle safety tips:

  • Make sure to put the candle off when, not in use
  • Keep the candle sturdy stands or uncluttered surface
  • Keep the candles at least 30cm away from combustible materials
  • It is ideal not to burn a candle all the way down

If a house fire disaster still strikes even after being knowledgeable and taking all the necessary precautions, you need to smart enough to act quickly and be attentive to things that could ignite. Do not try to clean or move the fire-damaged debris and belongings as attempting so could expose you to additional risks. Seek the help of a professional fire damage restoration company to clean up after a fire in the most effective manner.