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Common And Uncommon Causes of Fire


Fire damages are devastating for your family and your home. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need a caring expert to guide you through this crisis. Fire starters in a home vary depending on the season, but they do all have one thing in common. Of the 360,000 home structure fires reported annually by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the billions in damage they cause, most are preventable.

While most home fires are cooking-related, there are many other ways a fire can start in a home. Objects that may seem completely harmless can sometimes start a fire under the right circumstances. Here are a few common and uncommon causes of fire damage you should be aware of:


Most Common House Fire Causes:

1. Cooking 

Leaving pots and pans unattended on the stove while you leave the room momentarily accounts for 40% of home fires, according to the NFPA. Most start due to frying, with a few starting in the oven. Attempting to extinguish the fire improperly often worsens the situation, and results in the most injuries.

Never leave an active stove top unattended. Should it light, NEVER throw water on a grease fire. Use a lid to smother it. When it comes to oven fires, simply turn off the oven, leave the door shut, and stay at a safe distance until the fire extinguishes on its own. A fire extinguisher should always be stored nearby for emergencies and to avoid initial and further fire damage.

2. Electrical And Lighting 

From sources ranging from overloaded outlets to misuse of extension cords and equipment malfunction, to electrical issues in older homes due to time and age, electrical fire sources are plentiful. Considering an electrical inspection by a professional every few years is one of the best steps to take to prevent any electrical fires. Avoid overloading circuits, use the right cord for the job, and don’t operate Christmas lights when not at home.

3. Smoking 

The risk of dying in a smoking-related home fire increases with age, with nearly half of those affected 65 or older. Smoking outside is better for safety (and family health), using wide, sturdy ashtrays for butts and ashes. Never smoke in bed, be careful smoking when tired around flammables or medical oxygen.

4. Christmas Trees

At their peak in December and January, tree fires send about 230 evergreens up in smoke annually. Always locate trees away from heat sources, turn off lights at night and when you leave, and keep trees watered.

Uncommon Fire Causes:

1. 9-Volt Batteries

Although very rare, fires can start due to improper disposal of 9-volt batteries. When the battery’s posts come in contact with a piece of metal, and that piece of metal touches a flammable object (such as a piece of paper), a fire can start. Store used 9-volt batteries away from metals and place a piece of tape on top of its posts. Visit your city or county website to find out where to safely dispose of batteries for recycling.

2. Dust 

The dust bunnies under beds and furniture can be a fire hazard if they are close to wall sockets, heating appliances, or electronics. Dust bunnies can ignite if sparks fly towards them, possibly spreading fire towards nearby furniture. Vacuum under beds and furniture regularly to eliminate this small fire hazard.

3. Laptops

Laptops produce quite a bit of heat when operating for several hours. If you put your laptop directly on a bed, couch, or another soft surface, there is a slight chance that the heat produced by the laptop will start a fire. Prevent laptop fires by using laptop stands and cooling pads or by placing them on a non-flammable surface.

4. Dishwashers

While household appliances are known to start fires, not many people know that dishwashers can also pose a fire risk, although small. A fire can be caused by a faulty dishwasher when water drips onto the machine’s internal wires. Have your dishwasher maintained and repaired once a year to prevent any fire hazards.