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5 common causes of fires in multifamily buildings

Whether you live in an apartment building, condominium, townhouse or any other type of multifamily residential building, fire safety is extremely important. After all, just a single fire in any of the units can put everyone in the building at risk, which is why multifamily building fires can be so dangerous.

In fact, while multifamily building fires accounted for only 29 percent of all residential fires from 2013 to 2015, they nevertheless resulted in nearly 4,000 injuries and more than 400 deaths each year, on average, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

The five most common causes of non-confined multifamily building fires -- which are larger, more serious fires -- include:

  • Cooking mishaps - 21 percent
  • Appliance issues, including defective appliances - 11 percent
  • Various unintentional, careless actions - 10 percent
  • Electrical malfunctions or faulty wiring - 9 percent
  • Open flames, including candles or matches - 9 percent

Surprisingly, these five causes together accounted for roughly 60 percent of all non-confined multifamily building fires during the years examined.

Make sure your fire alarms are working

Given the severe consequences of a large fire in a multifamily building, you should always make sure your apartment not only has fire alarms, but that they actually work. You cannot afford to leave your safety -- and the safety of your family members -- to chance. If you don't have operational alarms, install them, or if you are a renter, contact your landlord.

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