"Of the nearly 2 million estimated fires reported annually to fire departments between 1996 and 1998, an estimated 3,600 fires claimed the lives of more than 4,300 civilians each year. These fatal fires also injured 1,200 civilians and caused almost $300 million in property damage. Of the fatal fires reported over this 3-year period, 83% involved a single fatality, and 12% involved two fatalities. The remaining 5% of fatal fires involved between three and nine fatalities. This report summarizes some of the major characteristics of fatal fires, with an emphasis on fatal fires in residential structures."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (February 2002), v.2 no.20