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A structure fire in Massueville, Canada
A structure fire in Massueville, Canada
A burned house
A burned house

A structure fire is a fire involving the structural components of various types of residential, commercial or industrial buildings, such as barn fires. Residential buildings range from single-family detached homes and townhouses to apartments and tower blocks, or various commercial buildings ranging from offices to shopping malls. This is in contrast to "room and contents" fires, chimney fires, vehicle fires, wildfires or other outdoor fires.

Structure fires typically have a similar response from the fire department that include engines, ladder trucks, rescue squads, chief officers, and an EMS unit, each of which will have specific initial assignments. The actual response and assignments will vary between fire departments.

It is not unusual for some fire departments to have a pre-determined mobilization plan for when a fire incident is reported in certain structures in their area. This plan may include mobilizing the nearest aerial firefighting vehicle to a tower block, or a foam-carrying vehicle to structures known to contain certain hazardous chemicals.

Types (United States)

Remains of a structure fire on Cotton Avenue, Macon, GA, US. c.1876
Remains of a structure fire on Cotton Avenue, Macon, GA, US. c.1876

In the United States, according to NFPA, structures are divided into five construction types based on the severity of the fire hazard:

Type I: Fire Resistive Typically used in high-rises. The material comprising the structure is either inherently able to withstand significant exposure to fire (concrete), or in which a fire resistive covering is applied to steel structural members.
Type II: Non-combustible Typically used in strip shopping center malls. Roofs are constructed out of steel rafters.
Type III: Ordinary construction Brick and mortar walls, wood frame floors. City rowhouses are where this type of construction is most often found.
Type IV: Heavy timber Often used in churches or other community-based buildings.
Type V: Wood frame Typically used in recent construction of single-family dwellings, townhouses, garden apartments with four floors or less.

Causes of house fires

The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this section, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new section, as appropriate. (August 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In a recent study, conducted by American Survey CO, for the period of 2005 - 2010, the causes of house fires across America were as follows:

References