Fires caused more than $15.5 billion in direct property loss in 2008

In 2008, fires caused more than $15.5 billion in directly property loss. Fires in residential properties caused $8.6 billion of it. Findings from the newly released report U.S. Fire Loss in the United States in 2008 (PDF, 244 KB) appear in the latest issue of NFPA Journal®, the official magazine of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Fire departments responded to an estimated 1.5 million fires in 2008. These fires resulted in 3,320 civilian fire fatalities, 16,705 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $15.5 billion in direct property loss.


  • 1,451,500 fires were attended by public fire departments, a decrease of 6.8 percent from the year before.
  • 515,000 fires occurred in structures, a decrease of 2.9 percent.
  • 403,000 fires (78 percent) of all structure fires occurred in residential properties.
  • 236,000 fires occurred in vehicles, a decrease of 8.5 percent from the year before.
  • 700,500 fires occurred in outside properties, a decrease of 8.9 percent.
  • A fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation every 22 seconds.
  • A fire occurs in …
    • a structure every 61 seconds
    • a residential structure every 78 seconds
    • a vehicle every 134 seconds
    • an outside property every 45 seconds.

Fire deaths and injuries

  • 3,320 civilian fire deaths occurred in 2008, an increase of 3.2 percent.
  • About 83 percent of all fire deaths occurred in the home.
  • 2,755 civilian fire deaths occurred in the home, a decrease of 3.8 percent.
  • 16,705 civilian fire injuries occurred in 2008, a decrease of 5.5 percent. This estimate for civilian injuries is on the low side, because many civilian injuries are not reported to the fire service.
  • 13,560 of all civilian injuries occurred in residential properties
  • There was …
    • a civilian fire death every 158 minutes
    • a civilian fire injury every 31 minutes.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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