(FEMA's) U.S. Fire Administration,
Release Date: July 20,
2005; Release Number: HQ-05-154
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In
2002 alone, lighted tobacco products caused an estimated 14,450
residential fires, 520 civilian deaths, 1,330 injuries, and $371
million in residential property damage, according to a new report
issued today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S.
Fire Administration. Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland
Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of FEMA
said the report shows that smokers need to be more attentive.
“Each year, smoking
fires generally result in the highest fatality rate and are among
the highest injury rates for residential fires,” Brown said.
“Smoking fires account for a large number of preventable fires and
The report, Residential Smoking Fires and Casualties, was
developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA’s U.S.
Fire Administration, and is based on data from the 2002 National
Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The report summarizes the
characteristics of smoking fires, with an emphasis on the
casualties associated with these fires. Forty percent of all
smoking fires start in the bedroom or living room/family room
areas of the home. In 35% of smoking fires, upholstered furniture,
mattresses, pillows, or bedding were the items first ignited.
“Many smoking fires
originate in the bedroom late at night when victims are sleeping,”
said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. “While it is
important to take extra precautions to be sure that smoking
materials are properly extinguished before falling asleep, it is
absolutely critical that all homes are protected by working smoke
A copy of the
full report can be downloaded from: