In the United States during the years 2007-2011, close to one-half of home fires (and over one-third of fire injuries) were the result of cooking equipment. While smoking materials were responsible for only 5% of fires, they were the single leading cause of death, with more than 20% of deaths.
In 2012, there were approximately 365,000 home fires, meaning that on average, there were 1,000 fires every day. During this year, there were 2,380 deaths from home fires (about 6-7 per day on average), and approximately 12,875 injuries as the result of home fires (about 35 per day). Property damage from home fires during 2012 was approximately $5.7 billion.
In addition to cooking and smoking, other common causes of home fires include:
- Heating equipment,
- Electrical causes,
- Clothes dryers and washing machines,
- Candles, and
- Playing with heat sources (such as matches).
Gas leaks from heating sources, creosote in chimneys, and flammable materials are also significant sources of home fires.
Tragically, during 2012 three out of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present or in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate.
Who May be Liable for Your Home Fire?
While home owners certainly bear liability for some home fires, in many cases the cause of house fires are due to the actions or negligence of other persons or parties, including:
- The manufacturers of defective space heaters. Between 2007-2011, space heaters accounted for approximately one-third of home heating fires, and over 80% of home heating fire deaths.
- Home builders and contractors, if they fail to properly install electrical wiring, outlets, conduits, appliances, or any other items that can be the source of the fire.
- Contractors who may use liquids that leave a highly flammable residue, or who may start a fire through using equipment that may ignite insulation or other flammable materials.
- Furniture manufactures who may use polyurethane foam used in furniture, which can cause dangerous “flash-over” explosions which can turn a small fire into an inferno instantaneously.
- The manufacturers of gas cans and other containers that are commonly found in garages, if such containers are defective (gas containers without flame arresters in particular have been found to explode with static electricity).
- Automobile manufacturers, in cases where fires have started from a vehicle defect and spread to a home.
- Neighbors, if the fire is caused due to their negligence.
- The manufacturers of defective appliances, including gas heaters and dryers, gas stoves, and outdoor gas grills (including propane tanks), and contractors who may have not installed the same properly.
- Gas companies, if the fire is the result of a gas leak.
Our Investigation of House Fires
As house fire lawyers, in a house fire of one of our clients, we will want to know:
- What caused the fire to start,
- Who was responsible for the fire starting, which may include more than one person or party, and
- Whether the injuries were made worse because of a defective product or other contributing factor.
We Offer a Free, No-Obligation Consultation
If you or another family member has been injured in a house fire, I would invite you to call our firm to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We accept fire injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there are no fees for our firm unless and until a recovery is obtained for you.