Structure fires are categorized as residential, public / mercantile and industrial / manufacturing / other buildings. A second category of fires is vehicle fires including aircraft, boats, trucks, buses, automobiles and trains.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. It is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
Arson is both the second leading cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar loss.
Heating is the third leading cause of residential fires. Heating fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained.