Every year, NFPA provides information for the previous year’s large-loss fires. Large-loss fires are defined as any event that results in at least $10 million worth of property damages. This year, the Large-Loss Fire Report indicated that there were eight less large-loss fires in 2010 than there were in 2009. Property loss associated with those fires also decreased more than $298 million.

 NFPA found that in 2010, there were a total of 17 large-loss fires that resulted in approximately $950 million in property loss. Of the 17 fires, 15 occurred in structures. The two fires that occurred outside structures were the Fourmile Canyon Fire, a $217 million wildfire, and an outside natural gas explosion that resulted in property loss of $65 million.

The 15 structure fires occurred in the following facilities: two churches; one restaurant; one clubhouse; three storage facilities that included an electronic equipment warehouse, a produce storage facility, and a paper records storage warehouse; two schools; two manufacturing facilities that included a sawmill and a metal products plant; one shopping mall; a wastewater treatment facility; one building that was being renovated; and one single-family home.

 NFPA was able to obtain information regarding the cause of 10 of the structure fires and found that five were intentionally set. Other causes include a mechanical failure in the rooftop AC unit, a light bulb that was installed too close to combustible materials, and the spontaneous  heating of agricultural products.

To help to continue to reduce the incidents of fires, NFPA offers the following:

Adhering to the fire protection principles reflected in NFPA’s codes and standards is essential if we are to reduce the occurrence of large loss fires and explosions in the United States. Proper construction, storage, and housekeeping will make fires less likely to occur and help control or limit the fire spread should a fire occur, while proper design, maintenance, and operation of fire protection systems and features can keep a fire that does occur from becoming a large-loss fire.

 For more information, please read the entire Large-Loss Fire Report or visit the NFPA website.