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5 Common Causes of House Fires in America

house fire

A house fire is easily one of the top worst nightmares of every homeowner. It can suddenly ignite in the most innocuous situations, spreading within mere seconds and demolishing a house within a few minutes. Even small fires can result in thousands of dollars worth of fire damage in Utah despite being put out quickly. Fire is frighteningly unpredictable, so it’s essential to pull all stops in getting rid of all fire hazards in your home. 

Apart from having the right insurance policy to help reduce your financial losses, you’ll also need to prevent the conditions that lead to a fire. Generally, fires can start in two ways: they are caused by the contact of heat and combustible materials, the latter of which is ignited. The second way is by chemical reactions. Unfortunately, all homes are full of items that can combust given the right circumstances. Here are five common causes of house fires and how to prevent them:

Kitchen Fires

Fires that occur in the kitchen are among the most common types of fires, usually caused by greases in a stove or oven that become overheated. Grease is an incredibly flammable substance that combusts when it reaches around 600 degrees Fahrenheit, even without touching flame directly. Additionally, when grease is ignited, it is very difficult to put out. To prevent grease fires, never leave the kitchen unsupervised when cooking with oil or food that produces grease. The same goes for portable cooking appliances like toasters and barbecue grills, particularly when the latter is next to a wooden fence or object.

Christmas Trees

Many families put up Christmas trees during the holidays as part of their tradition, although these are known to be fire hazards, especially when set up incorrectly. For instance, evergreen trees can dry out, making them even more flammable and susceptible to flash fires. A single spark or hot light can cause the tree to catch fire and burn, which can engulf a room in flames in a few seconds.

Setting up artificial trees made of vinyl or plastic is safer to put up in this instance. However, they are still vulnerable to electrical fires, particularly when you overload an outlet or use light-bulb strings with bad wires. To err on the side of caution, turn your Christmas tree lights when you aren’t home or when you are asleep, regardless of the kind of tree you have. Additionally, use LED bulbs instead of incandescent ones, as they emit a lot of heat.


According to the National Fire Protection Association, candidates are great for creating an intimate, relaxing atmosphere in your home, but they have also caused over 7,600 fires between 2014 to 2018. Even if you don’t have candles lit, leaving your matches and lighters within reach of your children can also lead to a fire. If you can’t bear to part with your candles, consider locking your matches and lighters in a secure place and keep candle flames 12 inches away from flammable materials. 

Electrical Fires

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, faulty electrical wiring causes around 51,000 fires every year, resulting in almost 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and approximately $1.3 billion in property damage. Electric fires usually happen due to short circuits that spark, igniting nearby materials, or overloaded circuits full of current, making wires overheat. These fires are often among the deadliest as they account for 18 percent of deaths due to home fire because they start in hidden locations. Since they aren’t caught right away, they quickly grow into major fires, getting too big to extinguish without the help of firefighters.

To prevent the possibility of electrical fires in your home, have your wiring inspected by a professional electrician. Additionally, avoid performing your own electrical repairs or improvements unless you have extensive experience and knowledge in doing so.

Heating Appliances

Appliances like heaters can ignite when they’re close to fabrics and other combustible items. Even cooling devices of certain types can lead to residential fires. As heaters require fuel, they can be incredibly dangerous since they can blow up or ignite if they are not appropriately supervised. To avoid this, always shut your heater off when you leave the house, as unsupervised appliances usually lead to house fires, mainly when homeowners aren’t around. Additionally, keep your heaters away from fabrics and other flammable materials.


House fires can be incredibly devastating. It’s essential to save yourself the loss and heartache of fire damage by understanding the common causes of house fires in America and how to prevent them.

If you’re looking for Utah water and fire restoration, let us know at AAA Restoration Utah! We are a full-service, licensed general restoration company offering mold removal and water and fire damage restoration. Whether you have busted pipes, mold in your basement, or need to salvage items from a house fire, we’re the ones to call. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!