Common Causes of Fire in Buildings

Whether you own a business or manage a residential building, fire protection needs to be a primary concern because a fire can break out anywhere and at any time. First and foremost, you need to have a fire protection system that is designed for the type of hazard you are most at risk for. But just as important is knowing what the most common causes of fire in buildings are, so you can take proactive measures to help reduce your risk of having one break out.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the five most common causes of fires stem from

  • Cooking equipment
  • Heating equipment
  • Electrical and lighting equipment
  • Smoking materials
  • Intentional fire setting

Cooking Equipment

The most common cause of fire in buildings is cooking. This is because cooking involves a combination of high cooking temperatures, flammable oils and grease, open flames, and in commercial kitchens, a hectic work environment. All it takes is for someone to take their eyes off the oven or spill some cooking oil to ignite a dangerous and fast-spreading fire.

Heating Equipment

For commercial and residential structures located in cold climates, heating equipment can be a major cause of fire risk. The reason is because the brutally cold weather can force the building’s furnace, boiler, and radiators to run to the point of overheating. In addition, in such climates, it is not uncommon for employees and homeowners alike to use space heaters, which if not used properly, can greatly increase one’s risk of fire.

Electrical and Lighting Equipment

In any modern building there is electrical wiring installed behind the wall. It is what is used to deliver electricity to the lights, outlets, HVAC system, and other equipment throughout the building. While electricity is usually reliable, it does present a fire risk, especially when the wiring is old or defective. Other problems, such as overloaded circuits, loose connections, faulty fuses, and imbalanced electrical loads can also be common causes of fire.

Smoking Materials

Americans might not smoke as much as they used to, but smoking products like cigarettes, cigars, and other materials remain a common cause of fire. A fire caused by smoking materials usually occurs from the materials either being disposed of improperly or from lit materials coming into direct contact with flammable materials.

Intentional Fire Setting

An intentional fire is one that occurs when someone deliberately misuses a heat source to create a fire. When someone starts a fire with malicious, criminal intent, then they can be charged with the crime of arson. While intentional fire setting is the least common of the top five causes of fire in buildings, it still accounts for 36% of all fires in educational institutions, 10% of fires in office properties, and 6% of fires in healthcare facilities.

Mitigate Your Risk of Fire with Fire Protection Services from Metro Fire Inspections

If you have concerns about fire risks in your building or you need to have a fire protection system designed and installed or tested and inspected, contact Metro Fire Inspections today at 631-994-0081 or click here to send us a message or get a quote for service!