Where Do Most House Fires Start?

A fire’s fuel source depends on several factors. For example, most house fires start in rooms people visit most frequently in the home. Places in the home where the risk is higher, and the activity level is increased over areas of rest in the house. 

Most house fires start in the kitchen, around the stove area. The second most common place for house fires is appliances that provide heat to the home, such as wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and other open flame systems within the home that use a solid fuel source. 

Fortunately, you can take steps to mitigate the fire risk starting in your home. Since most fires require an open flame or unattended equipment, fire safety depends on how you interact with your appliances.

For example, the most common room where house fires start has the most fuel available to an open flame because of the amount of use the stove receives. 

What Room do Most House Fires Start in?

Forty-nine percent of house fires in the U.S. result from a cooking accident.

Surprisingly, one of the leading factors is unattended equipment, also resulting in fifty-three percent of the deaths within the forty-nine percent of kitchen house fires in the U.S. The culprit is a dirty grease hood or duct exhaust fan. 

This often-ignored system is designed to prevent the grease from spreading to other kitchen areas. The grease is supposed to get sucked up through the fan and released into the atmosphere in its steam form.

But instead, the oil that cools too quickly adheres to the fan and inside the exhaust pipe. As a result, over time, these thin layers of grease build over the top of each other and are highly flammable when exposed to an open flame. 

I would recommend cleaning the grease hood, fans, and screens at least once a year to help lower the chance of unattended equipment starting a fire that spreads too quickly due to grease buildup over time. 

Also, I wrote another article about house fire causes, you should check out a complete list of the 9 most common causes of house fires (and how to prevent them) here.

For example, if the stove catches on fire while you are chasing your toddler down the hallway to get your kitchen spoon back, the fire may not spread too quickly because the grease traps are clean, and you might be able to put the fire out before it ruins the stir-fry.

Appliances that caused the most injuries are: 

  • Grease hood
  • Range or Cooktop
  • Portable Cooking Unit
  • Deep Fryer
  • Grills
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Rotisserie Oven 

The Second Most Common Place for House Fires

Home heating appliances are the second most common reason for a house fire. Most of these types of fires occur between midnight and eight am.

The location may surprise you as it is also in the kitchen, with the living rooms and bedrooms ranking second and third, respectively. 

Although placing a heating unit too close to combustibles has the highest death rate, it is only responsible for around sixteen percent of the fires involving heating appliances during the previous study done by the NFPA. 

The top reason house fires from heating appliances occurred was a failure to clean the device, which accounted for twenty-five percent of all heating appliance-related fires.

Mostly, wood stoves and devices with a reliable fuel source left unattended are the top reasons why house fires occur.

Fireplaces not being maintained cause fires in the living room area because of soot buildup in the chimney.   

I would recommend cleaning these heating appliances annually to help mitigate the possibility of a fire occurring while using the equipment.

In addition, turning off space heaters and not leaving an unattended fire for too long are a few safety precautions that you can take to keep your property fire safe.

Finally, it only takes a few minutes to empty the burnt ash and scrub the soot off the tray every time you refill it. 

How to Prevent Common Fires

Cleaning the appliances, including the range hood, and heating appliances that use solid fuel regularly, can mitigate most of the fire risk.

It makes sense that keeping the buildup from the material that the fire is burning off to a minimum would help stop a small fire from spreading into a more significant fire unpredictably and forthcoming. 

Having a fire escape plan in place is something that I also recommend; every family needs to know what to do to get out safely if the fire is uncontrollable.

Try not to sleep with the wood stove burning; that is a long time without anyone supervising the fire.