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Warehouse Structure Fires

Report: NFPA's "Warehouse Structure Fires"
Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: July 2022

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 1,450 structure fires in warehouse properties per year (excluding refrigerated or cold storage).
  • These fires caused an annual average of $283 million in direct property damage, two civilian deaths, and 16 civilian injuries.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 18 percent of the warehouse fires and was responsible for 31 percent of the direct property damage. 
  • Fires that were intentionally set caused 15% of warehouse structure fires and accounted for 15% of direct property damage. 
  • Flammable and combustible liquids and gases, piping, and filters were the items first ignited in 6 percent of the fires, but these fires caused 34 percent of the civilian injuries.
  • Approximately one-quarter of fires in warehouses were identified as confined or contained incidents (26%) and these fires resulted in minimal losses.
  • The number of structure fires in US warehouses has shown a slight increase in recent years after falling from 4,700 fires per year in 1980 to 1,100 in 2009. The decline in warehouse fires was sharpest during the 1980s, when the number of estimated warehouse fires fell by 60 percent between 1980 and 1989.


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