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Six Most Common Causes of House Fires

Six Most Common Causes of House Fires

… & What to Do if Your House
is Damaged by Fire

House fires are an all too common occurrence here in the United States. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that there is an average of 400,000 fires each year in the US.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the most common reasons house fires occur as well as what homeowners should do if their house suffers a house fire.

Common Causes of House Fires

Common Cause #6 – Appliances & Heaters

The sixth most common cause of house fires is when something goes wrong with an electric appliance. The truth is a faulty appliance can cause a damaging house fire with just a few sparks.

This is why it is important to stay in the vicinity of an object when it is turned on and running, whenever possible. By being nearby, you may be able to spot the sparks or smell the smoke and prevent an appliance-related house fire from getting worse and causing more extensive damage.

Things to look for include frayed wires, appliances that become hot to the touch and appliances turning on and off on their own. You should also be careful about what is in front of a space heater when it is being used.

Common Cause #5 – Kids Playing With Fire

Another common cause of house fires is kids playing with matches, lighters or candles. Statistics indicate that during a study period from 2005-2009 there were 56,300 house fires that were directly caused by kids “playing with fire.”

The best thing to do to prevent house fires caused by kids is to educate children as soon as possible about the dangers of fire. Another thing you can do is try to keep kids under close supervision during time spent at home.

Common Cause #4 – Candles

The fourth most common cause of house fires is candles. Experts estimated that there are approximately 18,000 fires each year that are caused by burning candles.

A key to avoiding this kind of fire is to never leave a lit candle unattended. Something else you can do is to trim the wick on a candle to reduce the size of the flame it produces. Remember, the larger the flame the greater the danger of it starting a house fire.

Common Cause #3 – Smoking

The third most common cause of house fires is cigarettes. Often people may fall asleep while smoking which can cause them to drop a lit cigarette which can then cause a house fire.

Ashes from a burning cigarette can also cause a house fire. Experts say approximately 1,000 people die each year due to house fires caused by smoking.

To avoid a cigarette-related house fire, require smokers to smoke outside the home.

Common Cause #2 – Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are a somewhat surprising common cause of house fires each year. What happens with Christmas trees is that they can dry out and then the heat from the lights on the tree can cause it to catch fire.

The fire can then quickly spread to wrapped presents and other furniture nearby before spreading throughout the house.

To prevent Christmas tree house fires make sure your live tree always has plenty of water. Another tip is to cut the bottom of the tree when you first buy it. A fresh cut will help ensure the tree absorbs water compared to a dead end that won’t absorb water.

Common Cause #1 – Cooking

By far the most common cause of house fires are cooking fires.

Heat from the stove and flammable food and grease often create a dangerous combination.

To prevent cooking fires, never leave food that is being cooked unattended. Also, keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen so that you can quickly access it. Cooking fires often escalate quickly.

What if Your House Has Already Been Damaged by a House Fire?

If you are the owner of a burned home, here is what you should do:

1 – Contact your insurance company immediately after a fire

This is important to do to ensure the insurance company will reimburse you for expenses and property loss.

2 – Have the physical property damage thoroughly inspected by a licensed third party professional.

Someone experienced with inspecting fire damaged houses will be able to spot damage that may not be visible to the naked eyes, like structural damage.

3 – Use the inspector’s findings to determine if you want to repair the damage or sell the house.

This is a big decision that you should not enter into lightly. Consider all the possibilities before making a decision.

4 – If you are going to repair the damage, hire a contractor.

Hiring the right contractor will go a long way in you getting back the house you love in a safe condition.

One more thing: when considering the house fire damage to your residence, don’t make the mistake of only focusing on visible structural damage.

Another major source of house damage from a fire is smoke damage.

The truth is long after a fire is gone, smoke pollution can linger in a home.

This is not good because prolonged exposure to smoke can lead to:


  • Respiratory Issues – unfortunately, small smoke particles can become embedded in carpet and furniture and breathing them in over time can result in breathing issues and even more serious conditions like lung cancer.
  • Skin Damage – Smoke residue can also irritate your skin and often the irritation can become so severe that regular skin lotion is not enough to get rid of it.
  • Eye Irritation – Left over smoke particles can cause red, watery, itchy eyes and if left untreated more serious damage could occur.


As a result of all of this, you will need to hire a professional who is trained and experienced in ridding a house of smoke and smoke residue. Your – and your family’s – good health depends on it.

If you decide you want to avoid the hassles of repairing a home after a fire by selling it, We Buy Fire Damaged Houses is a leading purchaser of fire damaged homes. Just fill out the short form below to contact us and potentially receive an offer for your house.




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