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Five Causes of Home Fires

Home fires happen all the time, making sure your home is prepared in case of an emergency can be the different between life and death. Every year, there are between 350,000 and 400,000 house fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. Home fires can be caused by a number of things but in this article Blue River Restoration highlights 5 causes of home fires.

The top 5 causes of home fires are Cooking, Heating, Smoking, Electrical, and Candles.

The top 5 causes of home fires are Cooking, Smoking, Electrical, Heating, and Candles.


Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires, and they’re responsible for almost half the injuries from home fires. Most kitchen fires involve the stove.

  • Use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.

  • Never pour water on a grease fire.

  • Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen even for a brief time.

  • Keep flammable items such as paper, packaging, towels, oven mitts and wooden cooking utensils away from the stove and oven.

Heating Equipment

Heating equipment is the second main cause of home fire fatalities.

  • Make sure your chimney is cleaned. Have a professional clean and inspect your chimney each year.

  • Keep flammable materials away from heaters.

  • Test smoke alarms once a month.

  • Vent fuel-burning equipment to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.


Smoking is the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other smoking materials started fires that caused 21 percent of home fire deaths. One out of four victims was not the smoker whose cigarette ignited the fire.

  • If you smoke, do it outside. Many smoking fires begin in the bedroom or living room with fabric, paper, or other flammable material.

  • Use a sturdy ashtray. Don’t toss cigars or cigarettes into bushes or leaves.

  • Be cautious with e-cigarettes; never leave them charging unattended or overnight.


Electrical equipment can also create hazards in the home. Wiring, lighting, electrical cords, and plugs cause about 10 percent of home fires each year.

  • Don’t use lightbulbs higher than the recommended wattage in lamps.

  • Keep children away from electrical sockets.

  • Don’t run electrical cords in places where they could get run over or damaged.

  • Unplug appliances when not in use.

  • Call an electrician if you have sparks from an outlet or frequently blown fuses.


Candles mean open flame.

  • Never go to sleep with candles burning.

  • Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that could catch fire.

  • Keep lit candles out of reach of small children and pets.

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