Cooking causes most residential fires: report

Cooking remains the leading cause of residential fires, according to two U.S. Fire Administration reports released this week.

An estimated 253,500 fires occur (.pdf file) in one- and two-family residential buildings each year. These buildings include detached dwellings, manufactured homes, mobile homes and duplexes. An estimated 2,150 civilians were killed and an additional 8,775 were injured in these fires, which also resulted in $5.3 billion in property loss.

An estimated 108,400 fires annually strike (.pdf file) multifamily residential building -- defined as apartments, townhouses, rowhouses, condominiums or other tenement properties. These fires resulted in 250 deaths, 3,800 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss.

Because the leading cause of residential fires is cooking, fires peak during evening dinner hours, the reports stated. The number of fires also spikes in the winter months, as heating- and holiday-related fires become more common.

The reports were based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System for 2005 to 2007.

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