According to the US Fire Administration (USFA), in 2008 3,320 Americans died as a result of a fire while 16,705 Americans were injured. Eighty-four percent of civilian fire deaths occurred in residences and 315 civilian deaths were the result of an intentionally set fire. Property loss due directly to fires cost approximately $15.5 billion. Furthermore, 118 firefighters were killed on duty.
Fire Accident Statistics
There were more than 1,400,000 reported fires in 2008. Of those fires, approximately 48 percent were outside or other fires, approximately 36 percent were structure fires and the final 16 percent were vehicle fires. More than 17,000 fires were intentionally set.
In 2008, fire killed more Americans than all natural disasters combined, the USFA reports.
Fires can be caused in a number of ways. Some fires are intentionally set. Others are accidental, such as when a barbeque is used too close to a home or a candle is knocked over. Some fires are the result of faulty appliances or old electrical wiring.
Causes of Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires that start in electrical systems or lighting equipment damage more than 24,000 homes each year. These fires also kill approximately 320 people and injure 830 more every year.
Sometimes, people or organizations can be held responsible for fires, such as when the fire is the result of improper building maintenance or the result of a defective product.
Those who are potentially liable for a fire include property owners, business operators, construction companies, building maintenance crews and companies that make defective products.
The mother of a 22-month-old who died in an apartment fire filed a lawsuit against the owners of the building, alleging they were negligent because they failed to provide adequate means to extinguish a fire in the building, failed to provide sufficient means of alerting people to the fire and failed to provide a safe way to escape from the second and third floors of the building in case of a fire.
There are steps consumers can take to protect themselves from a fire:
- Keeping a fire extinguisher in the home can help extinguish a small fire that could develop into a major blaze;
- Keeping portable heaters more than 3 feet from anything that could catch on fire. Heaters should never be left on when the house is empty;
- Repairing or replacing frayed wires, electrical cords and old appliances;
- Keeping kindling, matches and flammable items clear of fireplaces;
- Ensuring cigarettes are completely extinguished before throwing them into the trash and avoiding smoking in bed;
- Planning escape routes, and a place for family members to meet in the event of a fire;
- Installing and maintaining smoke detectors.
Fire Accident Legal HelpIf you feel you qualify for damages or remedies that might be awarded in a possible fire accident lawsuit, please click the link below to submit your complaint to a lawyer who will review your claim at no charge or obligation.
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