7 Things that Will Most Likely Cause a Home Fire – Tips on Fire Prevention

By famsecmatters •  Updated: 05/06/21 •  6 min read

Home fires can start accidentally and have the capacity to spread uncontrollably within seconds. In addition to destroying furniture, personal belongings, heirlooms, and the general structure of your property, they can also endanger your family and the people within your home. 

House fires can run you thousands in damage costs, so you must have a valid insurance policy to mitigate any financial losses you suffer as a result. Naturally, no one expects their home to go up in flames. However, it’s still essential you take preventative measures. Here are the seven things that will most likely cause a home fire and tips for taking precautions. 

Cooking Fires

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires, responsible for over 40% of reported injuries. Unsupervised stoves can easily catch fire, with open flames and intense heat providing the perfect recipe for injuries.

Cooking utensils and tea towels can also easily catch on fire, the latter providing excellent fodder, capable of spreading flames throughout the kitchen swiftly. 

To prevent cooking fires, it’s imperative you always pay attention to the task at hand and never leave the kitchen unsupervised. This significantly reduces the chances of a fire developing, allowing you to safely cook and serve your food.


Between 2014 and 2018, US fire departments were called to an average of 7,610 homes due to candles causing fires. Most candle fires occur due to negligence. Leaving them lit overnight or leaving them unattended can significantly increase the chances of them sparking a blaze. Keeping candles in the vicinity of flammable materials also increases the risk of house fires.

To reduce the risk of fires caused by candles, it’s a good idea to trim the wick. This limits the flame size, therefore decreasing the fire hazard. If you want to eradicate the risk of house fires while enjoying candles, opt for battery-powered.


Not only is smoking detrimental to your health, but it is also a prominent cause of house fires. Smoking was the most common cause of home fire deaths between 2012 and 2016. Overall, one in every 31 house fires caused by smoking resulted in death.

When lit cigarettes fall to the floor by mistake, they can quickly react with flammable materials such as curtains and rugs, instantly setting them alight. To reduce the risk of a fire in your house, only smoke outside. 

Electrical Fires

Electrical fires are a common type of house fire, typically starting because of short circuits. If a circuit gets overloaded with too many currents, it overheats. When an appliance short circuits, it causes sparking, which can ignite materials nearby, including interior components of the building’s structure. 

It’s essential to prevent electrical fires, as they can often be the most deadly. They’re so dangerous because they can ignite in hidden locations and develop into larger fires before the homeowner becomes aware. Electrical fires can also start during the night while you’re sleeping, allowing them to progress to a hazardous size before anyone notices.

To prevent these fires from occurring, ensure your home electrical systems are installed properly. If you have an older home, get an inspection done by a professional electrician. Any electrical or wiring work in your home should always be handled by a certified tradesperson. 

Read More: How to Put Out an Electrical Fire

Children’s Curiosity

From playing with matches, candles, and lighters to running around the kitchen while the stove is on, the carefree spirit of children can sometimes result in terrible accidents.

With this in mind, it’s essential to keep these items out of reach and hidden from young children. Doing so reduces the chances of them finding interesting items that have the potential to be flammable.

Young children should also be taught about fire safety and its importance when they are old enough to understand, as this education could be lifesaving.

Chemical Fires

Even though chemical fires are typically more common in industrial and commercial settings, they can arise in the home, too. Residential chemical fires are most common when vapors from petroleum liquids such as gasoline reach a flash-point temperature. They can also occur when fumes come into contact with an open flame.

Chemical fires can spark through spontaneous combustion, with oxygen and chemicals reacting negatively and overheating, developing into a flame. Even though these fires are less common in houses, they can be especially deadly because they are unexpected. 

To avoid chemical fires, ensure you store all your fuels and chemicals in proper containers and locations with no heat exposure. For example, when storing gasoline, use an approved container. Fill it to 95% full, which allows space for expanding vapors without the container rupturing. You should also store the container at least 50 ft. away from fire hazard sources. These include heating elements, furnaces, water or space heaters, and sparks.

Read More: Fire Statistics Per State

Christmas Trees

While they’re only a hazard during the holiday season, Christmas trees are a common cause of house fires. Though they look beautiful and cozy during the wintertime, they can turn into something more sinister if you’re careless.

Dressing hundreds of twinkling lights on dry needles and wood, this combination can quickly ignite. To avoid this, cut an inch from the bottom of the trunk before putting up the tree. This removes any deadwood that could prevent the tree from absorbing water. You should also keep your tree hydrated by watering it regularly. 

Additionally, to reduce the risk of Christmas tree fires, always turn the lights off before you go to bed. Or, if you want to be extra safe, opt for an artificial tree next holiday season.

Prevent a Fire in Your Home 

By understanding and being aware of the most common causes of home fires, you’ll be able to take the steps necessary to prevent them from happening.

From never leaving your kitchen unattended to teaching children about the importance of fire safety, these tips will act as excellent fire prevention methods, ensuring your home never has to go through unnecessary damage.

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