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11 Common Causes of Fires in the Home

By Hope Charlotte |

In the day-to-day life of our homes, we deal with objects that may be susceptible to starting fires without us being aware. For this reason, it is essential to become aware, not only ourselves but to instill this concern in the little ones, about the importance of taking precautionary measures against fires to avoid fatal outcomes. So, the best option to avoid such accidents is to install a smoke detector which is the fasted way to prevent fires and other coincidences.

11 common causes of fires in the home

Here we are going to talk about 11 common causes of fires in the home. Let us check out quickly.

1. Cooking:

It is the room that contains the most hazards that can cause fires. The common combination of fire, grease, electricity, and water is very dangerous.

Burning grease is a common cause of kitchen fires and is usually caused by the use of pans.

Other fires can arise from dry cooking, or oven fires, in many cases also from fat. These kinds of fires are easy to control and are not likely to cause damage. Poor maintenance of kitchen appliances can also cause a fire.

2. Heaters:

Heating appliances and fireplaces are meant to generate heat and can be dangerous if not properly maintained. Using the fireplace without a charcoal shield will cause sparks to fly through the room and start a fire. Other causes of fire are combustible items near heaters, such as clothing, wallpaper, or curtains.

Be very careful with portable heaters and stoves and keep any flammable material (cushions, curtains, sofa, ...) at a safe distance (≥1 m) from a stove or heater.

It is not recommended to connect portable heaters to extension cords. Place space heaters away from areas where people walk and always on firm surfaces. You should not put them on tables, chairs, and other objects where they could tip over.

3. Intentionally Lit:

Over 31,000 house fires are lit intentionally every year. Some of these intentionally lit fires are for fun fires that got out of control. Following are the explanations of such intentionally lit fires.

- Person fires something just for the fun and playing it around.

- To commit any insurance fraud.

- To burn the evidence to cover a theft

- To burn garbage

4. Cigarettes:

Most of the fires caused by cigarettes are caused by not putting out the cigarette correctly or by misuse and improper use of the ashtray. Most fires related to smoking are usually started because the cigarette does not go out completely.

If you feel tired and lie in bed or lie down on a sofa, you are likely to fall asleep while smoking. Once asleep you

may drop your cigarette on the bed, sofa, or floor and this could cause a fire.

5. Washing Machines:

Washing machines and clothes dryers also can be the cause of fires. The main offender in these two appliances is the cloth dryer as it accounts for 92% of laundry fires. It is because often dryers ignite fiber, dust, clothing, and lint within the machine.

6. Flammable Chemicals:

Never stock flammable things close to ignition devices. Always keep paint thinner, gasoline, and other flammable items a safe space from your house.

Don't store flammable items in a laundry or garage room, particularly if they include applications that light with a trial light. Always be cautious and keep such liquids outside or in a ventilated outbuilding.

Storage spaces are often at risk of fire, as they contain flammable objects such as gasoline or other liquids. Clothing, papers, and other combustible products are also dangerous and must be stored safely. Many of the electrical fire hazards are also found in these areas. Worn cables, electrical boxes, and others must be treated immediately.

7. Barbeque Grills:

This appliance causes about 8,700 fires every year. Most of the accident due to barbeque grills takes place during summer, especially during July. Gas leaks are one of the major contributors to fires.

Check the wires of your appliances. Verify that the plugs do not lack grounding and that the insulators on the cables are in good condition. 

Replace or repair cables if they are defective. Lint that accumulates near the clothes dryer heater can also cause a fire. 

Keep the lint screen and vent on your dryer clean. Some dryers have a duct system that sometimes gets clogged and needs to be uncovered. If your dryer is not working well, you will need to have it checked.

8. Candles:

Candles cause around 8,200 fires in the USA and they are responsible directly for an average of about 80 deaths per year. Be cautious if you’ve oil lamps, candles, or other machines that use fire to lit up a room. Do not leave burning candles if they are not in your control or supervision. 

Even a small candle flame can have bad consequences. Many of the candle-related fires are usually started by drafts that lead to the fire of combustible products, such as a curtain.

9. Overloaded power boards:

There are about 5,300 house fires are caused due to overloaded power boards. So, check out extension cords and multi-plug toms. All the electrical connections and elements over time tend to deteriorate due to use and sometimes moving furniture, walking and other activities carried out by people wear out these cables and can represent a risk of fire. Check them every so often and make sure there are no bare wires and they are in perfect condition.

Christmas lights are often plugged into these extension cords and kept on for a long time. If you plan to do the same, be sure to use good quality power plugs, extension cords, and cables and check them periodically.

10. Power Tools:

Power tools that NFPA calls ‘Hot Work’ cause around 2,000 home fires every year. It includes heat treating, welding, and soldering tools. These are some of the tools that cause fires. These tools cause fires then are kept close to some combustibles.  

Overheating plugs and sockets and blown fuses can start a fire. We recommend that you install a circuit breaker in your home. Its function is to automatically cut off the current when a short circuit occurs.

Check and properly maintain the electrical installation. Check that the electrical installation complies with current regulations and has all the necessary safety measures to guarantee correct operation.

Make sure all electrical appliances and connections are properly grounded and if necessary, hire an electrician to make modifications to the electrical circuits.

11. Christmas trees:

Be careful with the Christmas decorations, particularly the tree. Every year, on an average, about 160 Christmas tree causes fires in the USA itself.

Cheap lights can also cause fires when you place them on the Christmas trees. Similarly, real trees can burn easily when they’re dry and old. Switch off the Christmas tree light when you’re not at the house and when you go to bed.

Also, the placement of candles kept around Christmas trees, often to give a warm atmosphere a dinner with friends, can end in tragedy. It only takes a small flame so that in a breath of air the fire spreads, fueled by a combustible product or by igniting in a curtain.

Experts recommend, make sure you leave the candles on a stable and solid surface. Prevent children from accessing them and keep them away from materials such as paper or cloth, which are fast-burning materials. In general, avoid that the little ones in the house consider fire as part of their games. Keep them away from lighters or matches and educate them about it.

Now that we have explained the possible sources of fire, take the necessary precautions to avoid an upset. The best solution to prevent a home from fires is to install a high-quality smoke detector.

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