"Restaurants pose unique fire risks as they gather potentially large numbers of customers at one time, while engaging in cooking activities that inherently pose the risk of fire. This topical report examines the causes and characteristics of reported restaurant structure fires in 2002 and compares such characteristics with those of all non−residential structure fires. There were an estimated 7,100 fires in 2002, resulting in an estimated 108 injuries and $116 million in property loss. Although this report contains no estimates of deaths from restaurant fires for 2002, the potential for fire fatalities exists in any building or property where people congregate. Fires in restaurants caused more property damage per fire than the average structure fire (Figure 1), but less property damage than the average non−residential structure fire. This less−than−average property loss is due to the large number of cooking fires that were confined to the cooking vessel (41% of all restaurant fires) and resulted in small or no−loss fires. Also, restaurant kitchens are usually equipped with fire extinguishers so that fires are often extinguished before severe property damage is incurred. The average number of deaths and injuries per 1,000 fires was considerably less than the average structure fire, which includes residential homes, but similar to the casualty rates for non−residential structures."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (October 2004), v.4 no.3