States with the Most and Fewest Fatal House Fires in 2018

With fall fast approaching, we’ll soon be spending a lot more time indoors—cooking grandiose meals and cozying up to the fireplace.

Unfortunately, there’s a hidden risk to keeping warm and well-fed as the temperature outside drops.

With the increased use of heating in your home, there’s an increased risk of house fires. And they are both common and deadly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there have been 1,642 house fire related fatalities so far this year.1

Which states have the most (and fewest) fatal house fires?

Our data found that the 10 states with the most fatal home fires per capita in 2018 so far are as follows:

1. Texas

2. New York

3. Pennsylvania

4. Illinois

5. California

6. Michigan

7. Ohio

8. North Carolina

9. Florida

10. Georgia

The five states with the fewest fatalities per capita from home fires in 2018 are the following:

51. North Dakota

50. Wyoming

49. South Dakota

48. Hawaii

47. New Mexico

What we learned

Texas has the most house fires so far in 2018, with 99 house fires. It has also had nine fire fatalities caused by cooking—more than any other state.

North Carolina has the most fire fatalities caused by smoking in 2018, with five.

Oklahoma has had the most fire fatalities caused by heating in 2018, with four.


We wanted to find the how many of these fires resulted in fatalities in every state and Washington, DC, so used data from the US Fire Administration to calculate the number of fatal residential fires from January 1, 2018, to August 31, 2018. From there, we calculated the number of fatalities caused by smoking, cooking, and heating.

What are the most common causes of home fires?

Although house fires are somewhat prevalent, they don’t need to be. Here are some tips for knowing what puts you at risk for house fires and preventing them. Most house fires are caused by one of three things: smoking, cooking, or heating.


Smoking materials—including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars—started 60 fatal fires so far this year.

If you’re a smoker, take it outside. Smoking materials are most likely to lead to house fires when people smoke inside. According to the NFPA, most deaths by fires in the home via smoking started in living rooms, family rooms, dens, or bedrooms.

Be sure to use a deep, sturdy ashtray. Discarding cigarettes in vegetation—mulch, potted plants, and the like—is dangerous, as those materials can ignite easily.


Your kitchen can prove deadly too, especially when you fail to keep an eye on the stove. So far this year, 49 civilian home fire fatalities have been cooking-related.

The best thing you can do to prevent house fires while cooking is to stay in the kitchen, keep an eye on your food, and check it often. Especially during the holidays; the NFPA reports that Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires.


Heating equipment—heating systems, fireplaces, and space heaters—contributed to 23 fatal fires caused by heating so far in 2018.

Most heating equipment-related fires occur in the cold weather months— December, January, and February—so stay vigilant as winter approaches.

If you’re fond of cozying up to the fireplace, ensure your chimney is clean. Keep anything flammable—mattresses, clothing or anything else that can burn—away from a heat source. Stay warm, but stay safe too.

How do you protect your home from house fires?

House fires may be common, but the fall and winter months don’t have to be dangerous. You can have your pumpkin spice latte and drink it too. Staying vigilant and being careful can protect your home from serious damage—because house fires are no joke.

What are your tips for preventing house fires in your home? Let us know in the comments.

1. National Fire Protection Association, “Fire in the United States”