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Report on Clothes Dryer Fires

USFA Releases New Report on Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings

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USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853

EMMITSBURG, MD – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings. The report, Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) (PDF, 612 Kb), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
  • Clothes dryer fire incidence in residential buildings was higher in the fall and winter months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
  • Failure to clean (34 percent) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Dust, fiber, and lint (28 percent) and clothing not on a person (27 percent) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Fifty-four percent of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings were confined to the object of origin.

Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) is part of the Topical Fire Report Series. Topical reports explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

For further information regarding other topical reports or any programs and training available at USFA, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.