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Restaurant Building Fires

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These topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

 

Findings

An estimated 5,900 restaurant building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated average of 75 injuries and $172 million in property loss.

■Cooking is the leading cause of all restaurant buildings fires at 59 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (91 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage.

■While cooking is the leading cause of all restaurant building fires as well as confined restaurant building fires, electrical malfunction is the leading cause of the larger, nonconfined restaurant building fires.

■Nonconfined restaurant building fires most often start in cooking areas and kitchens (41 percent).

■Deep fryers (9 percent), ranges (7 percent), and miscellaneous kitchen and cooking equipment (5 percent) are the leading types of equipment involved in ignition in nonconfined restaurant building fires.

■Smoke alarms were reported as present in 44 percent of nonconfined restaurant building fires. In addition, full or partial automatic extinguishment systems, mainly sprinklers, were present in 47 percent of nonconfined restaurant building fires.

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