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Structure Fires Started by Hot Work

Report: NFPA's "Structure Fires Started by Hot Work"
Author: Tucker McGree
Issued: September 2023

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,396 structure fires involving hot work per year in 2017–2021. These fires caused an average of 19 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries, and $292 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Of the fires involving hot work, 46 percent occurred in or on homes, including one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multifamily homes, while 44 percent occurred in or on non-home properties.
  • Welding torches ranked first among the type of hot work equipment involved in these fires.
  • Fires involving hot work equipment mostly occurred in occupied and operating buildings. When these fires occurred, 81 percent of the homes and 75 percent of the non-homes were occupied.
  • Wall assemblies or concealed spaces (16 percent) and lavatories and bathrooms (15 percent) were the most common areas of origin in home fires. In non-homes, the most common areas of origin were exterior roof surfaces (12 percent) and garages (8 percent).
  • For both homes and non-homes, the leading factors contributing to ignition were heat sources too close to combustibles and cutting or welding too close to combustible material. 


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