Deadliest fires in retail properties since 1970


Asuncion, Paraguay

August 1, 2004

In 2008, Reuters reported convictions for fire caused by negligence that killed 327. In 2017, Telesur reported 396 deaths. (only news account sources)

Supermarket, Reuters reported that the fire began in a chimney that not been properly built or maintained. Minimum safety standards, such as an effective fire detection system and adequate emergency exits, were not present.


Lima, Peru

December 29, 2001

280 killed

(only news account sources)

Fireworks explosion in fireworks stand, in crowded shopping area of stores and sidewalk stalls.


Borneo, Indonesia

May 23, 1997

130 killed

(only news account sources)

Shopping mall, fire was set during conflict between supporters of two political parties. Victims were reportedly fatally injured while looting burning stores.


Osaka, Japan

May 13, 1972

118 killed

Multiple-use occupancy, 7 stories. Fire began on third floor (supermarket occupied third and fourth floors) in a display area for dress fabrics. All or nearly all fatal victims were occupants of a seventh-floor nightclub.


Kumamoto, Japan

November 28, 1973

103 killed

Department store, 7 and 9 story sections. Fire began in stairway storage between second and third floors.


Tangshan, China

February 14, 1993

80 killed

(only news account sources)

Department store, 3 stories. Fire due to welding sparks. Official Xinhua news agency reported seven people were convicted of charges related to the fire and sent to prison.


Bogor, Indonesia

March 28, 1996

79 killed

(only news account sources)

Department store, 3 stories. Fire began on top floor.


Kemerovo, Siberia, Russia

March 25, 2018

Preliminary reports indicate 64 deaths

(only news account sources)

According to NY Times, the fire began in the children’s entertainment center on the fourth floor of a shopping mall. The mall also had a movie complex and skating rink. The article reports blocked emergency exits and a non-working fire alarm system 


 Mexico City, Mexico

December 11, 1988

62 killed

(only news account sources)


 Begun by fireworks explosions in a market stall in a street market.
 10A.  Celaya, Mexico

September 26, 1999

53 killed

(only news account sources)


 Began in area of street stalls and shops. Fire began in a candy store in a rear area where fireworks were stored for sale in the store.
 10B.  Jilin, China

February 15, 2004

53 killed

(only news account sources)

 Fire began in store room next to boiler of shopping mall, at least 3 stories high. Official Xinhua news agency reported fire was started by a discarded cigarette.

Note: NFPA has no record of any U.S. fire in these properties in these years with a death toll of 50 or more.

Source: Fires known to NFPA and recorded in NFPA’s Fire Incident Data Organization (FIDO) database.


March 2018