BITCO Insurance Companies

Structure Fires in Warehouse Properties

Release Date: March 22, 2016

According to the report Structure Fires in Warehouse Properties, published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 1,210 fires in warehouse properties annually. These fires caused an average of $155 million in direct property damage per year from 2009 to 2013. By comparison, there were an estimated 483,000 fires in all structures during the same timeframe, making warehouse properties only 2.8 percent of the overall fire experience and roughly 6.1 percent of the total property losses in the United States.

While the frequency of fires in these properties has declined by slightly more than 74 percent over the last 30 years, the total direct property damage per year, adjusted for inflation, has only shown a marginal decrease. According to the report, intentionally set fires and fires in electrical equipment/wiring, are the most common cause of warehouse property fires, each resulting in 18 percent of the fires. However, intentionally set fires account for 32 percent of the direct property damage and are the single largest cause of warehouse fire losses.

Fires in warehouse properties are more prevalent during late afternoon hours (i.e., 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.), while the average direct property losses are greatest during the overnight hours (6 p.m. until midnight) when these properties are normally unoccupied. Rubbish/trash was the item most often ignited (12%), which would correlate to the high incidence of intentionally set fires, since the fire setter typically makes use of on-site materials and trash to start a fire.

The NFPA report, Structure Fires in Warehouse Properties, can be downloaded from the NFPA research and reports website at http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-by-property-type/storage.

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The information contained in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. ISO Services, Inc., its companies and employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with either the information herein contained or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedure.


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