"Over the past 100 years, the risk of fire in America's homes has decreased dramatically. Myriad changes have helped make us safer, including the adoption and enforcement of building codes, changes in the way we heat our homes and cook food, and widespread use of smoke detectors. Still, each year in the U.S. there are over 400,000 fires in residential structures, and these fire kill and injure many people. Between 1983 and 1990, an average of 74 percent of all fire deaths occurred in residential fires, as did an average of 66 percent of all fire injuries. However, research indicates that the risk of a fire in the home is not the same for everyone. Climate, building stock characteristics, and human factors importantly influence fire rates. This working paper concentrates on the last two categories, building stock characteristics and human factors. The intent is to identify socioeconomic factors that influence the complex and varied relationships between buildings, humans, and the occurrence of residential fires."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/