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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Most Common Causes of House Fires in Fort Worth, TX

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

house fire damage restoration fort worth Contact the Fort Worth fire damage restoration experts at SERVPRO if you've experienced a house fire.

A house that has stood for decades can be destroyed by fire in a matter of minutes. Because of how devastating house fires can be, we as humans have made great strides in fire prevention. Understanding the causes of house fires is one of the most effective ways we can combat such occurrences.

However, despite our best efforts to mitigate the common causes of house fires, fires can and will happen. This is why homeowners cover their property with insurance. When you have a quality fire insurance policy plus a reputable fire restoration company, fire damage can be wiped away.

While SERVPRO is honored to be the trusted brand for fire damage restoration in Fort Worth, we'd rather that home fires didn’t start in the first place. This guide is to raise awareness about the most common causes of house fires so that you might be better prepared.

How Common Are House Fires in Fort Worth?

If you hear a fire truck siren or drive by a house with significant fire damage in Fort Worth, you might wonder how often fires happen here.

In 2019, of the 2192 fires Fort Worth fire department responded to, 618 of these events were residential fires. 

In Texas, it is estimated that a house fire happens every 32 minutes. From 2014-2016, Tarrant County was ranked number 3 for most cases of structural fires in Texas. Houston and Dallas have more fires annually than Fort Worth.

Where Do Fires Start in Houses?

Where do most house fires start? This is the first thing we ask when approaching the common causes of house fires. The first thing we ask when we look for ways to stop the causes of fires at the source is:  When a fire investigation happens, the source of the fire is sought. Documenting how fires start helps us find opportunities to improve on things.

5 Top Causes of House Fires 

While it is possible for a fire can start externally through arson, a lightning strike, or a wildfire, these incidents are rare. We’ll focus on the internal causes of house fires so that we can be proactive to prevent this.

1. Electrical Equipment

Over the last century, we’ve become more and more dependent on electricity. Innovation has answered the call to make circuitry safer. Despite the modern safeguards now in place, house fires that occurred due to wiring and related equipment are at around 7%.

What causes electrical fires in homes? Wires overheat from an overloaded current. Short circuits will spark, and this is tinder for building materials. This could be happening behind a wall, and you wouldn’t know it until the fire had already grown.

Old homes that do not meet current building standards or wiring components that fail after decades of use are the most vulnerable to cause fires. For this, you’ll need the help of a qualified electrician - this includes inspection of old wiring, or investigating circuit problems (like a breaker that constantly trips).

2. Cooking Equipment

Of the top fire causes, most are related to the kitchen, and all too often these fires could have been prevented. Unattended stoves with pots and pans cooking, oven mishaps, and combustibles that are too close to the heating elements are what cause fires in the kitchen. Pressure cookers are also known to explode when not used properly.

There are times of the year when we cook more than usual such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Remember to keep an eye on cooking, especially when using high heat for frying, boiling, and broiling.

3. Candles

According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles caused an average of 7,610

house fires per year. Candles are used for eliminating odors, relaxation, and holiday decoration for Christmas and New Year's Eve. When left unattended, candles could tip over, the glass casing could break, or the flames could set nearby items on fire.

4. Smoking

Of all the causes of house fires, smoking is the most deadly. People smoke to relax. If you relax to the point of dozing off, you are then unable to respond quickly to a cigarette that has fallen from your hands. When the embers of a cigarette make contact with bed linens, carpet, clothing, upholstered furniture, etc. a house fire can easily start. If you must smoke indoors, please do so standing or sitting up (especially when you’re very tired).

5. Heating

Despite our state reputation for being warm, it does get cold here, in north Texas especially. For a short period, we’ll have freezing temperatures with ice and the occasional snow. For places that don’t have central heating, such as a garage, we use space heaters to keep warm.

Among the common causes of house fires, heaters come in second. Some heaters are designed with safety features, but it’s up to us to use them with caution. Don’t keep them running while you’re away from home and don’t use them to heat or dry fabrics.

Does Insurance Cover Fire Damage Restoration?

Homeowners’ insurance is all about the what-ifs. Generally, fire damage is covered by an insurance policy, but it’s best to call your agent for confirmation. We’ll go over the common kinds of coverage.

  • Dwelling - Covers fire damage to the structure of the home. 
  • Personal property - Covers the contents and personal property inside the home. 
  • Loss of use - Covers the expense of living elsewhere either temporarily or permanently. 
  • Personal liability - Pays for damage to the property of others that was caused by your house fire. 

Extensive wildfires in the US have made the news in the last few years, so this should prompt you to check in with your insurance agent and ask about what you can expect for fire coverage.  You might consider increasing coverage for damage to your neighbor’s property or other peripheral issues (for example, damage to an automobile in the garage).

House Fire Prevention Tips

The best way to address the common causes of house fires is to be prepared. Make your checklist with the following actions.

  • Test your smoke alarms. Many people use daylight savings time changes as a reminder to test the batteries twice per year. 
  • Inspect your heating apparatuses. Are there signs of electrical issues? When was the last time your furnace was checked by a professional?
  • Be careful in the kitchen. Keep your oven and stove clean - wipe up oil spills or food particles that could catch on fire. Don’t leave cooking unattended in the kitchen. Refrain from using your stove to heat your home.
  • Check your dryer vents. Lint can cause a fire with a clothes dryer. Clean out your lint traps and make sure the exhaust vent is clear of lint build-up.
  • Mind your power cords. If a cord has been frayed or chewed, discontinue use of the item. Keep cords away from carpets and fabrics.
  • Store flammables safely. Keep aerosols and other flammable chemicals away from heat.
  • Be careful with candles, fireplaces, and cigarettes. We use these to relax, but we must remain alert enough so that these don’t start a house fire. Keep combustibles such as fabrics away from the flames. Use extra caution when pets or children are around and don’t leave matches or lighters out.
  • Have fire extinguishers on hand (especially in the kitchen). Make sure yourself and other members of your household know where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it. Read the instruction label carefully.

SERVPRO Is Here to Assist With Any Fort Worth Fire Damage 

As we approach the end of the year, we use more heat in the form of holiday candles, preparing holiday food in the kitchen, and staying warm in cold months. We should keep common causes of house fires top of mind year-round, but especially during the fall and winter months.

Sometimes despite proactive efforts, homeowners will end up in a fire damage situation. SERVPRO Fort Worth is here 24/7 to respond to any fire issues from isolated damage to a total loss. We do it all from the preliminary tarping and board up to a complete reconstruction. We work with insurance companies so that the process is as efficient as can be. Contact us any time at (817) 589-1499 with questions or for a free estimate for services.

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