The Most Common Causes of House Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 360,000 house fires in the United States alone in 2015. These fires resulted in over 3,500 deaths and $10.5 billion in property damage. The good news is that most of these fires could have been prevented if homeowners had taken some simple precautions. This blog post will discuss the most common causes of house fires and how you can protect your home from them. Let’s get started!

Appliances and Equipment

A heat-generating device (stoves, clothes dryers, heaters) or one that warms up when used for long periods (computers, fans) is a fire hazard. Avoidable fires are caused by cookware left unattended.


The box comes with a warning: “A burning candle should never be left alone.” However, many candles are frequently neglected and can burn out of control. The most likely time for candles to catch fire is Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.

Electrical Systems and Devices

Any device that uses electricity can cause a fire, and poorly maintained lighting equipment is at the top of the list. Shoddy electrical wiring in a house — faulty connections, loose wires, and incorrect grounding — is also a significant risk that most homeowners are unaware of.


The result of carelessness with cigarettes is one of the biggest causes of house fires. People who smoke frequently fall asleep while enjoying a cigarette. They can inadvertently cause their mattress, chair, or sofa to catch fire, resulting in a fatal outcome. Discarding still-hot ashes into a trash can where they might ignite is also a preventable risk.

Chemicals and Gasses

Natural gas or propane gas may quickly spark a fireplace. A small leak can lead to an explosive scenario if combined with an accidental spark. Household chemicals that are incorrectly connected may cause combustion, so such activity should be done outside of the home environment.


Children under six are at the most significant risk for house fires, often caused by tiny children playing with fire or matches inside the dwelling. Older kids who understand what fire can do — and want to see what happens — are also dangerous. Though there’s no way to stop them entirely, it is feasible to reduce potential catastrophe by educating youngsters about how irresponsible behavior around fire may be.

How You Can Protect Your Home from Fire

While it’s impossible to eliminate all causes of house fires, there are some things you can do to minimize the danger. The following are a few tips:

  • Check your smoke detectors regularly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available in case of an emergency, and know how to use it properly.
  • Keep flammable materials like lighters and matches out of reach of children.
  • Avoid smoking inside the house, and if you smoke, be sure to extinguish cigarettes entirely in a safe container.
  • Never leave candles unattended, and keep them away from anything that could catch fire.

Need fire extinguisher services? Contact Fire-Alert today to see how we can help!