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NFPA Releases New Data on Manufacturing Property Fires

April 19, 2018

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released new data this month on fires in U.S. industrial and manufacturing properties examining the number of deaths and injuries, property losses, and contributing factors in an estimated 37,910 fires from 2011 to 2015. Researchers from the organization found that structure fires at industrial or manufacturing sites accounted for the largest amount of direct property damages and physical harm.

“Between 2011 and 2015, municipal fire departments in the U.S. responded to an estimated average of 7770 structure fires at industrial or manufacturing properties each year, with associated losses of 8 civilian deaths, 219 civilian injuries and $799 million in direct property damage,” Richard Campbell, the author of the NFPA research, wrote in the report.

About two-thirds (65%) of those incidents occurred at properties used for manufacturing or processing purposes Six civilians died and 176 civilians were injured in these incidents over the five-year sample. Direct property damages from structure fire incidents at manufacturing or processing plants totaled an estimated $540 million from 2011 to 2015.

Of the equipment types involved in industrial property structure fires during the period, lighting and heating equipment and electrical distribution systems were identified as the leading types of equipment involved in ignition, making up 40% of the recorded events. Conveyors were the ignition source in 40 incidents, and silo loaders, unloaders, and screw/sweep augers caused 20 fires.

Electrical failure or malfunction was the leading factor contributing to ignition in 20% of the fires recorded from 2011 to 2015, followed by mechanical failure or malfunction, which was responsible for ignition in 17% of the cases. Dust, lint, and fiber (including excelsior and sawdust) were the top items ignited in structure fires during the time period, appearing in 16% of incidents.

To view the full NFPA report, click here

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