5 Leading Causes of House Fires

House fires are devastating experiences that can cause widespread damage and injuries, sometimes leaving entire families without a home. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are roughly 350,000 domestic fires every year across the United States. Household fires can start in many ways, but understanding the most common causes and taking steps to prevent them can help reduce the risk of injury and even death.

1. Cooking

Cooking-related fires account for nearly half of all reported domestic fires across the United States. Most kitchen fires start when people leave their stoves, ovens, and other appliances unattended. Whenever gas, heat, and electricity are part of the mix, the risk of a catastrophic fire increases.

In many cases, cooking oils and grease can be highly hazardous and contribute to fires breaking out. Other times, household materials near the stove or oven, such as paper towels and cardboard boxes, can combust and quickly spread into a severe fire. 

2. Heating Systems

If you live in Pennsylvania, you likely have a home furnace or electric heating system that helps you stay warm when the temperature drops. Despite their useful nature, domestic heating systems are also a common cause of fires in domestic and commercial settings.

Whenever space heaters or heating systems are poorly used or maintained, these devices can cause devastating fires. Portable heaters should always be placed at least three feet away from flammable materials and never left unattended. 

3. Electrical Accidents

Several factors, including overloaded power outlets, damaged wiring, and faulty appliances, can cause electrical fires. Electrical fires are also common in areas with high concentrations of moisture or water, including bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor pools.

4. Smoking

Indoor smoking is another leading cause of house fires in the United States and can be highly dangerous if a smoker falls asleep while smoking. Millions of Pennsylvania residents smoke cigarettes, tobacco, and cigars regularly. Sometimes, the ashes have just enough heat to ignite flammable materials inside the home, such as bedding, furniture, rugs, and carpets. 

5. Candles

Many people enjoy candles to give their home a personal touch. Unfortunately, candles are also a significant fire hazard, and the consequences can be deadly. 

Candle-related fires are often caused by leaving a candle burning unattended or placing a candle too close to flammable materials. To prevent candle-related fires, safety is crucial. If you light candles at home, ensure they are far away from combustible surfaces and always put them out when left unattended.

Household Fire Injuries and Statistics 

House fires are far more common than people may realize, and injuries abound whenever these disasters occur. 

The NFPA reports an average of seven deaths and 31 injuries caused by home fires each day in the United States. In addition to physical injuries, house fires can cause emotional trauma and financial hardship.

Some of the most common injuries associated with house fires include:

  • Burns
  • Carbon dioxide poisoning
  • Smoke inhalation

Burn injuries can require extensive medical treatment to repair. In many cases, these can also lead to permanent disfigurement. Smoke inhalation can cause damage to the respiratory system and may lead to long-term health problems related to the toxic nature of smoke. 

Preventing Fires in Pennsylvania

House fires are a severe threat to any Pennsylvania household, but they can be prevented by understanding the common root causes and taking precautions to reduce the risks. 

By being mindful of your cooking, heating, and electrical systems, avoiding smoking indoors, and using candles responsibly, you can help protect your family and home from catastrophe and personal injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a personal injury, please get in touch with Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963