Fires are the most common claim for homeowners, and they can start in a variety of ways.
The causes of these fires range from food left unattended on the stove to candles left burning. A majority of these fires are preventable with some forethought and care to minimize the risks.
Here are the eight most common causes of house fires, as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.
The NFPA says more than half of all candle fires start because of candles that were left too close to flammable items. They should always be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
There are some 17,600 smoking-related fires a year, resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
3. Electrical and lighting
Electrical fires can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, dryer or other appliance.
4. Dryers and washing machines
The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%), or the drive belt (15%).
NFPA says lightning strikes cause an average of 22,600 fires per year. During lightning storms, remember:
6. Children playing with fire
The NFPA says that children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year, causing about $172 million in property damage.
7. Christmas trees
The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year, and they are more likely to be serious because of the factors that can contribute to the fire: a dry tree, electrical lights, and a fuel supply (gifts) under the tree.
Two-thirds of cooking fires start because the food or other materials catch fire. Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to in the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tries to put out the fire.
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