"Smoking fires in residential properties are often local news media stories.The losses from smoking-caused fires have been consistently high over the past 25 years-the period in which fire cause trends have been tracked. Although one of the less frequent causes of fi res, when smoking fires do occur they are the most deadly.They have consistently been the first or the second leading cause of fire deaths each and every year.This topical report examines the characteristics of smoking fires in residential buildings in 2002. In 2002 alone, lighted tobacco products caused an estimated 14,450 residential fires, 520 deaths, 1,330 injuries, and $371 million in residential property damage. Residential smoking fires are characterized by high levels of loss compared to other types of residential structure fi res.While property loss per fire for residential smoking fires was 22% higher than for residential fires generally in 2002, it is the injury and death rates that were considerably higher than the residential average. As Figure 1 indicates, in 2002, the fire death rate was nearly four times higher than the overall residential fire rate. Likewise, residential smoking fires were more than twice as likely to result in injuries. Each year, smoking fires generally result in the highest fatality rate and among the highest injury rates for residential fires (Figure 2)."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (June 2005), v.5 no.5