USFA report on fatal fires from 2014 to 2016
Although civilian fire death rates are declining, the annual estimates of civilian fire fatalities are still high. Each year, from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 3,315 civilian fire deaths were reported to fire departments across the country. Because 81 percent of all fire deaths occurred in residential buildings, the fatal fires in these types of buildings are the focus of this report.
From 2014 to 2016, an estimated 1,800 fatal fires in residential buildings occurred annually in the U.S. These fires resulted in an annual average of 2,700 deaths, 600 injuries and $173 million in property loss.
This topical report, issued by the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Data Center, addresses the characteristics of fatal fires in residential buildings as reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) from 2014 to 2016 — the most recent data available at the time of the analysis. Some of the characteristics examined include fire spread, factors contributing to ignition, human factors contributing to ignition, and alerting/suppression systems. The information in this report can be used not only to assess progress, but also to understand the nature of the fatal fire problem and its implications for the targeting of prevention programs. The NFIRS data from 2014 to 2016 are used for the analyses presented throughout the report.
For the purpose of this report, the terms “residential fires” and “residential fatal fires” are synonymous with “residential building fires” and “fatal fires in residential buildings,” respectively. “Residential fatal fires” is used throughout the body of this report; the findings, tables, charts, headings and endnotes reflect the full category, “fatal fires in residential buildings.”