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Common Causes of House Fires

Having a fire in the home is devastating. Not only is there loss of possessions, but loss of life is also possible. In order to avoid a dangerous house fire, you should know the most common causes of house fires and learn tips to avoid them.


Cooking is something we do every day in our homes. It is an essential part of living. Cooking equipment, however, is responsible for more home fires than any other cause. In fact, on average, 43% of home fires are caused by cooking.

  • Stay in the kitchen at all times while cooking.
  • Keep combustibles away from heat sources (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, cooking towels, etc.).
  • Turning pan handles inward.
  • Use a cooking timer.
  • Be extra careful when cooking with oil. Smoke is a sign that the oil is too hot.

Electrical Equipment

Let’s face it, appliances make our live so much easier. They are very convenient and help us to save time in our modern fast-paced lives. Unfortunately, they can also be the cause of fires.

  • Inspect equipment for loose or frayed cords.
  • Have a professional regularly inspect your old appliances.
  • Do not run wires under rugs or heavy furniture.
  • Avoid using too many electronics and appliances on one power strip.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended.
  • Use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.

Faulty Wiring

It is common especially in older homes to have faulty wiring. Make sure to have a professional electrician do an electrical maintenance check yearly. Here are some additional tips to keep your home’s electrical system running safely.

  • Install arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)? to protect electrical outlets.
  • Inspect the fuse box and breaker panel for any damaged components.
  • Replace old wiring in home.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, if you have frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits and flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician to inspect immediately.


Candles are pleasant and create a nice?ambiance in the home. It should be noted though, that on average, 29 home candle fires where reported per day between the years of 2007 ? 2011 (reported by the NFPA).

  • Never leave combustible material near a candle.
  • Never leave a candle unattended.
  • Keep out of reach from children.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy.
  • Consider using flameless candles.
  • Never burn a candle all the way down.

Flammable Liquids

There are a lot of every day products we have in the home (or store in the garage) that are flammable. We such things like paint, cleaning agents, fuels, etc. It is important to be mindful of these products and take appropriate measures to keep your home safe.

  • Lock products in a separate locked cabinet, high up and away from children.
  • Don’t store near a heating source.
  • Store flammables outside the home in a cool ventilated area.
  • Store in approved tightly-closed containers.
  • Keep in mind that it only takes one spark of static electricity to ignite a flammable product.

Holiday Decorations

The best part of the holidays is putting up fun decorations. Unfortunately, with all the holiday fun comes potential fire danger.

  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Check lights for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Do not damage light cords by using nails. Use clips instead.
  • Keep decorations away from doors and windows.


We all love grilling. Having a barbecue at your home is a way to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, appreciate good food and relax with family and friends.

  • Clean removable parts on a regular basis.
  • Use barbecues away from your home, deck rails, tablecloths, over-hanging branches, etc.
  • Check the gas tank for leaks: Spray the connections with soapy water. Then, watch if bubbles form when you open the gas.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Call the fire department immediately if you smell gas while cooking.
  • Grills (propane and charcoal) should only be used outdoors.


For more fire safety tips, check out the NFPA.