What Causes Residential Fires? By Sean Burke on January 17, 2020

A house fire in the laundry roomAccording to numbers compiled by the Insurance Information Institute (III), there were roughly 499,000 structure fires in 2018. Of that number, 387,000 were residential structures (houses or apartments). Breaking those numbers down, that means there was a residential fire every 87 seconds in 2018.

The devastation caused by house and apartment fires can turn lives upside down. Even more tragic are the causes of house and apartment fires, which may be the result of defective appliances or negligence. Irvine, CA personal injury attorneys Sean M. Burke and Jason N. Argos go over some common reasons why residential fires happen. You may have legal options available if negligence contributed to the fire.

Cooking Accidents

A number of house fries occur when there are grease fires in the kitchen. Some people panic and pour water on the fire, making matters worse. Instead, be sure to cover the pan with a lid, pour baking soda or salt over the fire, or use a fire extinguisher. This puts out the fire without causing flames to shoot up and spread.

Cooking Appliances

In addition to accidents while cooking, problems with stoves, ovens, and other cooking appliances in the kitchen could lead to fires. Both electrical and gas ranges can pose fire hazards. Have them checked, and avoid using any faulty cooking equipment.

Space Heaters and Heating Systems

Each year during cooler months, countless fires occur because of faulty heating systems or the use of space heaters. Heating systems that don’t function properly could cause serious fires within homes. Space heaters that are too close to furniture or combustible materials also poses major fire hazards.

For anyone using space heaters, keep them a few feet away from flammable materials. Turn them off before going to sleep, or be sure to set the timer on the heater so it can switch off after a set amount of time.

Smoking Indoors

If you smoke, you don’t just risk lung cancer and heart disease. Smoking can also increase the risk of fire if a lit cigarette is near paper, fabric, or other flammable materials. Our Irvine law firm suggests kicking the habit for good, or at least being cautious whenever smoking inside.


Candles are great for mood lighting or getting rid of unwanted odors. If you aren’t careful, candles can cause major fires. Be sure to extinguish candles whenever you leave a room or the house in order to prevent fire hazards.

Electrical Equipment

Any electrical equipment in your home could short out and possibly cause a fire. This is why using surge protectors is helpful. You can avoid dangers associated with power surges from outlets, and possibly even prevent a fire from starting.

Poor Wiring in the Home

If the wiring in your house or apartment is faulty, it could lead to sparks and fire. It’s important that you have the electrical components in your home inspected. This includes the outlets and wiring within the walls. Better to be safe than sorry.

Children Playing with Fire

Children are curious by nature, and sometimes this curiosity can be dangerous. That’s the case when they play with matches, lighters, or any other items that can start fires. Be sure to stress fire safety to your children so they can stay safe while still being inquisitive.

Contact Burke Argos

If you live in the Irvine area and would like to speak with a lawyer about a fire at your house or apartment, we encourage you to contact the law firm of Burke Argos. Our attorneys are here to help. You can reach our law office by phone at (949) 438-4416.

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