Massive Urban Fires
Fire is the sixth leading unintentional cause of
injury and death in the United States. Fire ranks
as the highest cause of death for children under
the age of 15 at home.
The dangers that fires pose, include:
- Asphyxiation: Asphyxiation is the leading
cause of death in a fire, by a 3-to-1 ratio over
- Heat: A fully developed room fire has temperatures
more than 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Smoke: Fire generates black, impenetrable smoke
that blocks the vision, stings the eyes, and
clogs the lungs. It may be impossible to navigate
Fires in the Home
Roughly 85 percent of all fire deaths occur where
people sleep, such as in homes, dormitories, barracks,
or hotels. The majority of fatal fires occur when
people are less likely to be alert, such as nighttime
Nearly all home and other building fires are preventable,
even arson fires. Juveniles, who often respond to
counseling, cause the majority of arson fires, and
the rest can be prevented in a number of ways. No
fire is inevitable.
In 2000, 3,420 people died in reported home fires
in the United States—about 9 people per day.
In addition, thousands of people were injured in
home fires, many with severe burns.
Fire victims are disproportionately children or
the elderly. Children playing with fire start two
out of every five fires that kill young children.
Approximately 900 senior citizens die in fires annually.