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Common Causes of Commercial Fires

commercial building firesIf you own a business or manage a building in the Southeast, fire protection should be among your primary concerns. One of your best defenses against commercial fires is to understand and mitigate your risks.

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

Most Common Causes of Commercial Fires

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 an inherent fire risk. Old or defective wiring, overloaded circuits, loose connections, faulty fuses, imbalanced electrical loads, and many other 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. They are responsible for:

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

Intentional

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

Schedule Commercial Fire Protection Services in the Southeast

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 industry.

If you have concerns about fire risks in your building or you want to install fire protection systems, please contact us today!