Each year, an estimated 23,800 vacant residential building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments and caused 75 deaths, 200 injuries and $785 million in property loss.
A major concern when a vacant building catches on fire is that little is known about the building’s overall condition.
Many buildings are in disrepair and can be missing certain structures, such as staircases or portions of floors.
If people use the vacant building as a home or shelter, the unknown condition of the building and the unknown number of people in the building can put firefighters’ lives in danger when they enter to attempt a rescue during a fire.
Learn more about vacant home fires from the free report, “Vacant Residential Building Fires (2013-2015).”
Important Findings Include:
- Each year, from 2013 to 2015, an estimated 23,800 vacant residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States and caused an estimated 75 deaths, 200 injuries and $785 million in property loss.
- Vacant residential building fires are considered part of the residential fire problem and accounted for 6 percent of all residential building fires.
- Nonconfined fires accounted for 99 percent of vacant residential building fires.
- At 34 percent, intentional actions were the leading cause of vacant residential building fires.
- Of vacant residential building fires, 53 percent spread to involve the entire building. An additional 10 percent extended beyond the building to adjacent properties.
- At 12 percent, bedrooms were the leading area of fire origin in vacant residential building fires. Following closely were common rooms, such as dens, family rooms and living rooms (11 percent), and cooking areas/kitchens (8 percent).
(See in Action. Courtesy of Upper Images and YouTube. Posted on Jul 18, 2017)
About the Topical Fire Reports Series
This series of reports explores aspects of the U.S. fire problem that affect Americans in their daily lives.
Statistical reports on the U.S. fire problem
U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) statistical reports explore aspects of the U.S. fire problem that affect Americans in their daily lives.
Primarily based on data collected through USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), their reports briefly address the nature and relevance of the specific fire or fire-related problem, highlight important findings, and suggest other resources to consider for further information.
As a follow-up to these reports, visit the fire safety and prevention outreach section for materials that will help you increase community awareness about many of the fire problems addressed below.