Common Causes of Fire Damage

Fires can happen without warning, often resulting in catastrophic damage. At First Response Restoration, we believe that understanding the root causes of fires can help prevent and protect. Being aware of potential fire hazards can make a significant difference at home or in the workplace.

Fires not only result in financial loss but also cause emotional distress and potential loss of life. Thousands of fires occur yearly in residential and commercial properties. This article will dive into the common causes of fires in both environments, highlighting how to mitigate these risks.

Common Causes of Home Fires

Let’s see some of the common reasons for home fire from household appliances:

Cooking Accidents

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Unattended cooking, especially when frying or grilling, can quickly lead to a fire. Grease fires can spread rapidly, causing extensive damage. Stay in the kitchen while cooking, keep flammable objects away from the stove, and always have a lid nearby to smother grease fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking equipment was involved in 49% of home fires and 45% of home fire injuries. Use a timer, avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking, and keep children and pets away from cooking areas.

Heating Equipment

During colder months, heating equipment like space heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces are used more frequently. If not properly maintained or kept too close to flammable materials, these can easily ignite a fire. Space heaters, in particular, should be placed at least three feet away from anything that can burn.

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, accounting for 16% of home fires. Regularly clean and inspect heating equipment, and ensure chimneys and vents are clean and clear.

Electrical Malfunctions

Faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and outdated electrical systems are common culprits in residential fires. Electrical appliances, if not used correctly, can also pose a risk. Ensure that licensed professionals perform electrical work and that appliances are in good working order.

Approximately 10% of home fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Avoid overloading outlets, use surge protectors, and replace damaged cords and plugs.


Cigarettes and other smoking materials are a significant fire hazard. Improper disposal of smoking materials can lead to fires, especially if they come into contact with flammable items like furniture or bedding. Smoking outside and using deep, sturdy ashtrays can reduce the risk.

Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths, causing 23% of home fire fatalities. Never smoke in bed, soak cigarette butts with water before disposal, and keep smoking materials out of reach of children.


While candles create a pleasant ambiance, they can be dangerous if left unattended or placed near flammable objects. Pets or children can accidentally knock over candles, starting a fire. Opting for flameless LED candles can be a safer alternative.

Candles were the cause of 3% of reported home fires and 6% of home fire injuries. Always blow out candles before leaving a room or going to bed, and keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

Common Causes of Workplace Fires

There are many reasons for commercial fire. A few are mentioned here:

Electrical Issues

Similar to homes, workplaces are at risk of fires caused by electrical malfunctions. Overloaded power strips, faulty wiring, and malfunctioning equipment can all lead to fires. Regular electrical inspections are vital in maintaining a safe work environment.

Electrical fires account for about 10-15% of workplace fires. Implement regular maintenance schedules, use certified electrical products, and train staff on electrical safety.

Flammable Materials

Workplaces that store or use flammable materials are at higher risk. Proper storage and handling of these materials are essential to prevent fires. Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations regarding the storage and handling of flammable materials is crucial.

Flammable materials are involved in many industrial fires, particularly in manufacturing and chemical industries. Store flammable materials in designated areas, use proper containers, and ensure adequate ventilation.

Human Error

Human error, such as improperly disposed of smoking materials or failure to turn off equipment, is a leading cause of workplace fires. Vigilance and proper training can mitigate these risks. Educating employees about fire safety and protocols is a key preventive measure.

Human error is a leading factor in workplace fires, contributing to a significant percentage of incidents. Establish clear protocols for equipment use and shut down, and promote a culture of safety.

Equipment Malfunction

If not properly maintained, machinery and equipment in workplaces can overheat or spark, leading to fires. Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial. Ensuring that equipment is in good working condition and used according to manufacturer guidelines can prevent many fires.

Equipment malfunctions account for a notable portion of industrial fires. Implement a maintenance schedule, replace faulty equipment, and conduct routine inspections.


Unfortunately, arson is a reality for many businesses. The intentional setting of fires can cause massive damage and is a significant risk that companies must guard against. Security measures such as surveillance cameras and proper lighting can deter arsonists.

Trust First Response Restoration for Fire Damage Restoration

If you do experience fire damage, First Response Restoration is here to assist with professional and efficient restoration services like board-ups to insurance claims. Our team is trained to handle fire damage with care and expertise, ensuring that your property is restored as quickly as possible.

Call us at 914-268-6141 for a free, no-obligation estimate, or contact us online to book an appointment with a First Response team member. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and with the right knowledge and precautions, you can keep your environment safe from fire hazards.