Most Common Causes of House Fires

Apr 14, 2022

Suffering a house fire can be a truly life-altering event, one that some may never fully recover from. The best way to protect your home and family from a fire is to reduce your risk to aid in preventing them altogether.

We all know the basic forms of prevention and protection like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and home monitoring. However, there are additional steps that homeowners can take as the first line of defense against house fires. While our list is certainly not exhaustive, it should give you an idea of things to avoid and where to exercise caution.


One of the most obvious causes of a house fire is cooking. With the rise in popularity of natural gas appliances, comes the inherent danger of cooking with open flames. According to the most recent NFPA Home Structure Fire Report, cooking was liable for approximately 49% of all house fires. The importance of safe cooking practices and knowing how to properly react should an incident occur could be a gamechanger in protecting your home

  • Never leave the oven or stove unattended

  • Keep all combustible items at a safe distance

  • If a grease fire occurs, remove the heat source, and cover it with a lid or generous amounts of baking soda. NEVER USE WATER.

Heating Sources

Household heating measures like a wood burning fireplace or a portable space heater can easily lead to house fires if not properly attended. In 2021, 13% of structure fires were attributed to them. It’s important to follow proper protocol for venting, cleaning, and spacing. Wood burning fireplaces can be quite dangerous if not properly respected. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Only burn properly prepared or seasoned firewood.

  • Never use flammable liquids to jumpstart your fire.

  • Never leave your fireplace unattended while in use.

  • Practice proper cleaning and maintenance on your fireplace and chimney.

In the case of heaters, they include instructions and safety warning labels that have been properly tested. Not following these rules can lead to disaster. Also keep in mind that any heater using a fuel source like kerosene or gasoline are more likely to cause an issue than an electrical unit.

Electrical Fires

Malfunctions within a home’s electrical system are another common cause of house fires and account for around 9% of total reported structure fires. Be sure to have your home thoroughly inspected prior to purchasing it and schedule regular checks to ensure your continued safety.

Along these same lines, electrical fires are known to increase during the holiday season as homeowners setup their decorations. Inspect all powered d├ęcor to confirm plugs and wires are in good condition and never overload electrical outlets. 


While smoking only accounts for around 5% of reported structure fires, it has been linked to approximately 9% of fire-related injuries and is currently the leading cause of fire-related deaths (23%). Traditional smoking devices like cigarettes, cigars, and pipes all involve a smoldering flame which, in turn, has inherent dangers. Since smoking is often used as a form of relaxation, smokers have been known to fall asleep before properly extinguishing their cigarette.


Candles might seem pretty harmless; however, they can pose a serious fire threat. Whether being used for their light or aroma, remember that candles involve an open flame that could easily get out of control if a problem were to arise. Lit candles should never be left unattended. Instead of traditional lit candles, you might consider using battery-operated flashlight for emergency lighting or a candle warmer to enjoy your candle’s scent.

Protecting Yourself

Learning to properly identify and avoid fire risks is ultimately your best safeguard from a house fire. If you and your family could benefit from added protection, the fire and security experts at FSS Technologies can provide you with an initial consultation and expose any potential hazards you might have lurking. Our professionals can outfit your home or business with a fully customized system to give you 24/7 peace of mind.

Contact Our Friendly Pros Today

Share this post