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Where Do House Fires Usually Start?

How do house fires start? Often, in the kitchen, and frequently as the result of an electrical problem. Learn about house fire stats, prevention and recovery.

House fires are a widespread problem in the US and Canada. In 2017, 1.3 million fires were reported in the United States alone, resulting in $23 billion in losses. The good news is that many house fires are preventable.

This blog post will walk you through where and how house fires usually start, along with the odds of a fire happening in your home.

Where Do House Fires Usually Start?

House fires are more common in certain areas of the house than others. To prevent a house fire, it’s important to know where they are more likely to occur so you can plan accordingly.

House fires usually start:

  • In the kitchen: Most house fires happen from 5-8pm – dinnertime. Most kitchen fires are grease fires. Never leave your kitchen unattended!
  • Near your heating appliances: Electrical space heaters and other heating appliances that require fossil fuel (like kerosene or propane) are especially dangerous. Never leave flammable objects next to a heating appliance. Never leave your home if a space heater is running.
  • In the bedroom: Your bedroom is filled with flammable objects, especially if your mattress is older. (All mattresses made after 2007 are flame-retardant.)
  • In the living room: Living rooms often have an unhealthy mixture of candles, fireplaces, electronics and heating equipment, as well as flammable materials like couches, blankets and carpeting. The living room is also the most common location for Christmas trees, which are extremely flammable. Remember to unplug your Christmas tree lights when you aren’t in the room to enjoy them! Check out our top holiday safety tips.

How Do House Fires Start?

If the circumstances are right, any room in your home may be susceptible to fire. The most common causes of house fires are:

  • Electrical fires

It’s important not to overload a circuit or leave your lights on overnight. Use power strips in areas where you have a lot of devices plugged in at once, but be sure not to overload them. Be sure to have any electrical work completed by a licensed electrician, like our friends at Mr. Electric®.  

  • Cooking fires

Be careful with grease, a common culprit in a lot of cooking fires. It’s also important to keep an eye on any activity going in on your kitchen. If you have to exit the kitchen and leave food on the burner or in the oven, use timers to keep track of preparation time and to prevent burning/fires.

  • Candles

Candles are a popular home decoration, but they have a sinister side. Don’t leave candles burning overnight or unattended; try to limit each burning session to one hour.

  • Smoking

Smoking caused 11.8% of fatal residential fires in 2017. If you or members of your household smoke, it’s best to do so outside. Make sure cigarette butts are completely extinguished and, of course, never smoke in bed or when inebriated or under heavy medication to prevent falling asleep with a lit cigarette.

What Are the Odds of a House Fire Happening in My Home?

According to the American Red Cross, one in 3,000 households experienced a fire in 2010. It’s important to take appropriate steps to prevent household fires. If you’re mindful of your cooking, get your wiring inspected regularly, and make sure flammable items aren’t left near a heat source, there’s a good chance you will never experience a house fire.

Out of the Frying Pan, Out of the Fire

However low the odds, house fires do happen. If your home falls victim, trust Rainbow International to restore your home to its pre-loss condition. Our service professionals are IICRC-certified in fire remediation, smoke damage restoration, water damage restoration and more. Request an appointment online now or call (855) 724-6269 to get started.

Electrical fires account for 51,000 fires in the US each year. Learn more about electrical fires from the licensed electricians at Mr. Electric. Like Rainbow International, Mr. Electric is a member of the Neighborly® family of trusted home service brands.