Fire-related Fatalities and Injuries

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that in the United States:

  • A fire department responds to a fire every 23 seconds
  • One home structure fire was reported every 89 seconds
  • One home fire-related injury occurs every 46 minutes
  • One home fire-related death occurs every three hours

In 2020, 1,388,500 fires resulted in 3,500 civilian deaths and 15,200 injuries. In addition, there were 62 non-COVID-19 on-duty firefighter deaths and 78 firefighter deaths that resulted from COVID-19 in 2020.

Although the number of fire-related deaths has decreased by 46% since 1980, 2020 marks a 23% increase from the record low number of deaths recorded by NFPA in 2012 (2,855). The 2020 civilian fire death toll of 3,500 is 5.5% lower than the 3,704 total in 2019. The graph below shows the vast majority of these deaths resulted from home fires.

  • Chart
  • Data Table

One- and two-family home fires account for 63.7% of civilian deaths and 56.6% of injuries. Apartment structure fires account for 10.0% of deaths and 19.1% of injuries. For overall home fires, the 2020 rate of 7.2 deaths per 1,000 reported home fires was nearly the same to the rate of 7.1 in 1980.

  • Chart
  • Data Table

Source: Ahrens, M., & Evarts, B. (September 2021). Fire loss in the United States During 2020. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.

Fahy, R.F., & Petrillo, J.T. (October 2021). Firefighter Fatalities in the US in 2020. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.