11/15/2012 - Home structure fires usually start in the kitchen
Though lit candles are a frequent cause of fires that destroy homes, the most common culprit appears to be cooking that's gone awry, a new report indicates.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 371,000 home structure fires occurred annually between 2006 and 2010 - making it the most frequent source of fires that occur in residential properties - causing an estimated $7.2 billion in property insurance losses each year.
Not surprisingly, these fires tended to occur in the kitchen, which is generally where homeowners prepare their meals.
While fires tend to start in this part of the house, NFPA also reports that deaths resulting from fires generally start in the bedroom. Of these, nearly two-thirds likely could have been avoided had the home been equipped with a working smoking alarm.
Fire officials say homeowners can avoid these tragedies by testing smoke alarms at least once a year, always staying in the kitchen when cooking and ensuring nothing is draped on or near space heaters that have been turned on.