The Home's Hearth Common House Fire Ignition Sites

Point of Origin: Where House Fires Usually Begin


Due to better safety standards and building materials, house fires have drastically decreased since the 1970s. However, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), nearly 370,000 fires still occur each year inside homes, apartments, and residential areas.

In 2013, these types of fires severely injured more than 12,000 people and caused nearly 3,000 deaths. Now, although these numbers are significantly lower than the 723,000 house fires reported in 1977, they are still remarkably high. This is why it is important to not only know your family’s risks, but also be aware of how, why, and where these fires generally start, in order to protect your family from serious harm.

Danger Zones: Hot Spots in Your Home


Houses and other residential buildings have drastically improved in construction and safety over the past three decades. However, even though structures and safety have improved, certain areas of the home are still prone to fire outbreaks. These areas include:

  • The kitchen. Kitchens are one of the most common places for a residential fire due to the fact that stoves, ovens, and microwaves are not only used on a daily basis, but also exhibit a tremendous amount of heat that can easily ignite objects surrounding them.
  • The roof. Roofs are extremely susceptible to catching fire due to weather-related incidents. For example, lightning striking a few broken roof tiles can easily start a flame, or a windy day could cause a transformer to spark dried leaves and other kindling on your roof.
  • Inside walls and ducts. A simple spark from a faulty piece of wiring can ignite dust and pieces of wood inside walls. This flame can then use the space between the walls to essentially funnel itself throughout your entire house.
  • The bedroom. Over the past few decades, bedrooms have started to harbor more and more electronic devices (televisions, radios, alarm clocks, phone chargers, etc.). Unfortunately, these electronics, when also introduced to a wide array of flammable fabrics (bed sheets, clothing, curtains, etc.), are definitely a concern for fire safety.
  • The living room. Like the bedroom, the primary concern for a living room fire is electronics, unless you have a fireplace in your living room, in which case electronics are your second concern. The living room usually houses the most electronics in a single area in your home. In addition to televisions, an entertainment area can include DVD players, surround sound, multiple game consoles, and radios all plugged into one another and using the same power source to run everything. As a result, one tiny flaw in any of these devices could cause all of them to spark, smoke, and ignite surrounding objects

To protect your family from serious harm, make sure you have a fire escape plan and that you take extra safety precautions to avoid fires in these common areas.

Fire Escape