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This Biggest Cause of House Fires May Surprise You

It wasn’t that long ago fires could destroy major cities virtually overnight. London, Chicago and San Francisco are among the examples. Wooden structures crowded together, poor and inadequate fire fighting equipment and narrow streets all contributed to these catastrophic fires. Today, better planning, zoning and building codes have all lead to the decrease in house fires. Well-equipped fire fighting agencies have also contributed to the decline. That’s not to say house fires aren’t still a problem Each year there are an average of over 350,000 homes that catch fire, resulting in an annual average death toll of over 2,600 people along with 11,000 injuries. The resulting financial losses from these house fires is nearly $7 billion.

What however, is the major cause of modern house fires? The top five list may surprise you.

  1. Candles. We love the warm glow and tempting aromas of the house candles in our homes, but they are the fifth major cause of house fires in the United States, especially in the fall and winter holidays, when their use is so popular. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep them away from loose and flammable materials.
  2. Electrical Wires and Equipment. Frayed and damaged wires, short circuits in outlets and old switches are among the fourth main cause of house fires in the United States today. If you notice dimming lights or switches or outlets that don’t perform perfectly, have them replaced.
  3. Smoking in Bed. This may be hard for those who don’t smoke to believe, but smoking in bed remains a significant cause of house fires, at number three on our list. Making bedrooms a no-smoking area can help.
  4. Heating Equipment. From space heaters to furnaces, the equipment used to heat our homes is the number two cause of fires in our houses. Furnaces should be checked annually and filters replaced quarterly. Space heaters should be used sparingly and never while unattended.
  5. Cooking. The number one cause of house fires today is cooking. In fact, about 42% of all housing structure fires are cooking related. It may be another good reason to order out.

Yes, house fires are much less of an issue than generations ago but they are still a concern. If you want to be assured you have enough insurance coverage on your home, contact our independent agents. They can shop to find the homeowners insurance best for you!

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