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Common Causes Of Commercial Fires

commercial building fires

If you own a business or manage a building in the Southeast, fire protection should be among your primary concerns. There are many instances of commercial fires, so it is always best to be prepared with proper fire safety precautions. One of your best defenses against commercial fires is to understand and mitigate your risks.

Unifour Fire & Safety offers professional fire safety services in the Southeast. If you are interested in learning more about fire protection services, contact Unifour Fire & Safety online or call 866-511-5540.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the five most common causes of fires in commercial buildings are cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical and lighting equipment, smoking materials, and intentional fire setting. Continue reading to learn more about which properties these risks affect, so you know where to focus your fire protection efforts.

Most Common Causes of Commercial Fires

Commercial fires are more common than you may think. It is always better to be prepared by knowing the common causes of most of these commercial fires. By knowing what may cause a commercial fire, your business can take proper precautions to prevent damage to your property.

Cooking Equipment

When you think of buildings with cooking equipment, restaurants probably come to mind first. However, any business that serves food is likely to have a kitchen area. Because of high cooking temperatures, flammable oils and grease, and the hectic nature of commercial kitchens, this is the single most common cause of commercial fires.

Cooking equipment is responsible for:

  • 65% of fires in healthcare facilities
  • 61% of fires in restaurants
  • 38% of fires in educational institutions
  • 29% of fires in office properties
  • 13% of fires in stores and mercantile properties

Heating Equipment

Depending on the climate, commercial buildings require heat to stay comfortable for several months of the year. As with other mechanical equipment, furnaces, boilers, and radiators are at risk of overheating. This, in turn, can lead to a fire.

Heating equipment is responsible for:

  • 14% of fires in industrial or manufacturing properties
  • 11% of fires in office properties
  • 9% of fires in restaurants
  • 5% of fires in healthcare facilities

Electrical & Lighting Equipment

All modern buildings feature electrical wiring behind the wall for light and power. Unfortunately, electricity carries inherent fire risk. Old or defective wiring, overloaded circuits, loose connections, faulty fuses, imbalanced electrical loads, and many other electrical or lighting problems can develop that lead to overheating or sparks that ignite a fire.

Electrical problems are responsible for:

  • 12% of fires in office properties
  • 10% of fires in stores and mercantile properties
  • 9% of fires in restaurants
  • 5% of fires in healthcare facilities

Smoking Materials

Lighted cigars, cigarettes, and other smoking materials can start fires if disposed of improperly. Fortunately, the rate of fires caused by smoking materials has decreased in recent years as a result of declining popularity and the introduction of “fire safe” cigarettes with reduced ignition strength. Still, smoking materials remain one of the top five most common causes of commercial fires.

Smoking materials are responsible for:

  • 9% of fires in office properties
  • 7% of fires in restaurants
  • 5% of fires in healthcare facilities


An intentional fire is one that occurs as the result of the deliberate misuse of a heat source. Arson fits into this category, though to be considered arson, the fire starter must have malicious, criminal intent.

Intentional fire-starting is responsible for:

  • 36% of fires in educational institutions
  • 10% of fires in office properties
  • 6% of fires in healthcare facilities
  • 4% of fires in restaurants

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Unifour Fire & Safety is an expert at providing fire protection services to businesses in the Southeast. With over 30 years of experience, you can trust us to deliver the best products and customer service in the fire safety industry.

If you have concerns about fire risks in your building or you want to install fire protection systems, please contact Unifour Fire & Safety and call us at 866-511-5540!