Common Causes of Commercial Building Fires
We usually don't think of a fire destroying our business or office building. We are more worried about less concrete threats. This includes a downward trending economy, high customer churn rate, the struggle to retain talented employees, legal issues, etc. However, nonresidential building fires killed 65 people, injured 1,425 and created $2,461,400,00 in damage between 2004 and 2013.
In order to prevent a dangerous and costly fire, the time of day fires are most likely to occur in your building depends on what type of business you're in. An office building is a bit different from a manufacturing plant. Ex: In an office building, fires are most common during regular work hours. Incidence of fires peaks in the early evening hours between 3-6pm.
Therefore, the most common causes of commercial building fires are as follows.
1. Cooking Fires
- 29.3% of nonresidential fires from 2013 were cooking related. In fact, 1 in 4 office building fires were related to cooking equipment. These types of fires do tend to account for less damage, but they are easily preventable with fire protection systems such as alarms and fire extinguishers.
- This accounts for almost 10% of fires, and tends to cause the most damage. Intentional fires also result in more civilian injuries and deaths. Unlike cooking and heating fire, it's most common for intentional fires to be started between 3pm and midnight. A few common locations to be aware of in the building are bathrooms, trash bins, garages, and open areas like a lawn or field.
3. Careless Acts and Human Error
- 9.2% of commercial fires were unintentional results of careless acts. This is somewhat of an 'other' category. Some examples include accidentally leaving space heaters or other heat producing equipment on, carelessly discarded cigarette butts igniting fires, and plugging too many things into the same extension cord.
4. Heating Fires
- Heating fires account for 9% of all nonresidential building fires. Central heating units, fireplaces, water heaters, and other heating appliances and systems should be regularly inspected to prevent fires. It is important to move any flammable materials and furniture away from heat sources.