Did you know that during December, January, and February, one out of four Oregon house and apartment fires involves home heating equipment?
From 2005 through 2009 in Oregon, there were 2,323 home heating-related fires resulting in eight deaths, 70 injuries, and more than $37 million in property loss. Oregon fire agencies have already responded to several home heating-related fires this fall.
Over of all home heating fires are fires confined to the chimney or flue. These confined fires rarely result in serious injury or large property or content losses but can spread to become building fires.
Forty-three percent of home heating fires are building fires. Building fires are responsible for all the deaths and a majority of the injuries and property loss in home heating fires. According to the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Data Unit, the top causes of building fires are:
- 30% are caused by a misuse of material or product. Most often these are fires where combustibles were too close to the heating equipment.
- 29% are caused by a mechanical failure or malfunction. This is typically electrical failure or part failure due to age or lack of maintenance.
- 18% are due to a human-caused operational deficiency. This includes failure to clean equipment, improper operation of equipment, or leaving equipment unattended.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds homeowners to have chimney and woodstove flues inspected and cleaned each year by a qualified chimney sweep. Click here for additional safe practices that can help you to reduce the possibility of a fire or injury related to woodstove use.
All statistics in this article are based on 2005-2009 incidents reported by Oregon fire agencies to the Office of State Fire Marshal.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
December 3, 2010