The 5 Most Likely (And Unlikely) Causes of Fire

Generally, fire insurance covers losses to your home or business and the property within it from damage due to fire. We would hope that most homeowners and renters have sufficient protection against fire damage at least through standard insurance policies. 

Fires are typically unexpected and wild in nature, yet they can begin in the most unexpected of places. Take a look at this review from one of our Adjusterman Public Adjusters customers, Michael Perry, who had a fire begin underneath his sink – a place you’d least expect! 

“We had a small fire under our kitchen sink which I thought would cost our family a couple $k. However, every contractor we spoke to said this was not an easy fix and would basically result in a kitchen remodel if done properly. Of course our insurer did not agree and wanted to pay a minimal amount. Luckily we were recommended to Adjusterman who was a great advocate for us and who walked us through every step of the cumbersome process involving insurance claims. We did end up having to redo the kitchen, but our insurance claim proceeds increased from $2k to $18k (after fees paid). Five stars to Adjusterman for his much needed help!  Thanks!” 

  • Michael Perry, Customer of Adjutserman Public Adjusters 

In this case, Michael sought help from insurance carriers and public adjusters until he found the right fit with Adjusterman. From there, we helped Michael in speaking with his insurance carrier and made sure he received the most money for his claim. 

It’s important to identify the many ways fires can easily start on your property – both expectedly and unexpectedly –  so you can determine how your insurance carrier may respond.

Here are 5 ways fires are EXPECTED to start on your property: 

  1. Candles 

Typically, candles are printed with warning labels saying, “Burn within sight. Do not leave this product unattended,” or “Do not allow foreign objects near open flame.” This is, obviously, not without reason. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA), an average of 20 home candle fires are reported each day with an estimated 8,200 home fires being started by candles every single year. Most of these fires are reported to begin in the bedroom, where soft cushions and furnishings burn easily. 

  1. Holiday Decorations 

Candles may certainly fall under this category. However, Christmas tree lights and other lit decorations are obvious causes for fires in homes, especially during this time of year. Live trees that are left to dry out make for easy kindling under hot lights. Fake holiday trees might also catch fire if the lighting is wired incorrectly or heats up the plastic. 

  1. Smoking 

If you’re one of those people who can easily fall asleep in any position, please make sure that you do not fall asleep while smoking. 

Many individuals fall asleep with a lit cigar or cigarette in hand, unknowingly setting their tablecloths, couch and cushions, or bed and pillows on fire. Such fires can be easily avoided by putting out a lit cigar or cigarette before going about the rest of your evening. 

  1. Meal Preparation  

Whether you’re using a stovetop, toaster, microwave, or grill, you can count that if those appliances produce enough heat to cook a meal, they most definitely produce enough heat to cause a fire. Fires can also start when this heat is in proximity to combustible or leaking gasses. The spark of a stove combined with leaking gasses can cause combustion.  It is important to attend an open flame at all times to ensure fire safety. 

  1. Electrical Outlets 

When it comes to electricity, the reality is that any wire or device that provides charge or power can also be the cause of fires in your home or business. This is why it’s highly recommended to check electrical work being done on your property to make sure there are no faulty installations. It’s also important to check for loose wires and improper grounding, which may be the cause for trips OVER loose wires, pulling a plug and sending sparks flying as you go down. 

Here are 5 UNEXPECTED ways fires can start on your property: 

  1. Dishwashers 

Dishwashers are an unexpected culprit when it comes to fire based on the fact that they use water to clean glass, utensils, and other kitchenware. However, many people forget that dishwashers combine electrical engineering with fluid dynamics to complete this task. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 500 fires per year are caused by faulty dishwashers. Fires occur when liquids in the dishwasher leak into other compartments and coat the wiring. For this reason, it’s best NOT to run the dishwasher when you are not around. 

  1. Animals  

When thinking of animals causing fire, you might immediately imagine a cat swiping a candle off your countertop with its paw. It may not occur (at least right away) that rats and other pests might gnaw at electrical wires and other materials in your home unbeknownst to you. 

The best way to prevent fires caused by animals is to take the following precautions with your home or business: making sure there are no loose or hanging wires in the open, plugging all holes or crevices in your property where animals might find their way inside, and being vigilant of animals you ARE aware of in your home. 

  1. Chimneys 

Depending on your living situation, you may or may not have a chimney in your home. Like the rest of your home, it is important to routinely clean the chimney area to remove any debris or by-products from controlled fires. 

Chimneys expel the by-products of combustion including smoke, water vapor, gasses, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and more. As these substances leave the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting brown-black residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote, a highly combustible in all its forms. If creosote builds up in sufficient quantities, and the internal flue temperature is high enough, the result could be a chimney fire.

This being said, it is best to routinely clean your chimney and properly dispose of any materials 3 feet away from your home AFTER distinguishing the controlled flame in your fireplace. 

  1. Batteries

People may not associate 9V batteries with probable causes for fires, but it’s possible. In fact, a 9V battery a gentleman by the name of David Miller improperly disposed of caused such a fire in 2014.   

If a 9V battery were to cause a fire, it has to be placed next to a piece of metal that can connect positive and negative posts, inducing a small spark. If the batteries and metal are next to easily flammable items like tissue, wool, or other soft goods and materials, they could start a fire. All of these necessary factors are what make this cause so unexpected. 

Keeping 9-volts in the correct packaging and storing them away from metals are easy steps to fire-proof your environment. 

  1. Miscellaneous Glass Objects 

When thinking of how fires start in a technological age, it is easy to overlook fires caused by nature. Apart from lightning strikes, fires are also easily caused by a refraction of sunlight. 

Multiple cases have been reported from an unattended glass object catching the suns’ rays and setting fire to the nearest window curtain, including this BBC article reporting a woman’s crystal ball unexpectedly setting fire to the curtains in her home’s lounge area. 

Fires caused by glass objects are highly unlikely as the shape of the glass and the angle at which the sun hits has to be very precise to get hot enough to start a blaze. However, they’re not impossible. 

If you’ve ever started a fire using a microscope and dried vegetation, like they often depict in televised portrayals of camping, then you’ll have an idea of how a crystal ball can catch curtains ablaze. 

If you have had a recent fire in your home or business or damage to your property, call Adjusterman Public Adjusters. We will make sure you get a full and fair settlement from your insurance carrier!. Contact Adjusterman Public Adjusters to help with your claim at (954) 588-2160.

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