Commercial Building Fires: The Five Top Causes

Commercial Building Fires: The Five Top Causes

Even in larger communities, commercial fires are almost certain to make headlines. While structures, alarms, safety equipment and response times are far superior to those of just decades ago, commercial fires are still costly. What are the likely causes of these fires in commercial structures like offices, stores, hotels, warehouses and manufacturing plants? Here are the top five.

  1. Arson

Intentional fires, or arson are the fifth leading cause of fires in the United States. Fires of a suspicious nature are not necessarily arson.

  1. Smoking

While tobacco use is down, smoking materials are still a major cause of commercial fires. Businesses should have proper containers in designated smoking areas for cigarettes to be properly extinguished.

  1. Electrical and Lighting

It is somewhat understandable that the amount of electrical wiring and lighting in a commercial building can make a structure susceptible to fires. Wiring and lighting fixtures should be updated in older buildings and wiring and circuit breakers need to be sufficient to meet today’s demands.

  1. Heating Equipment

Heating equipment in commercial buildings, like homes, is a major contributor to fires in the country. Older equipment and space heaters are problematic in commercial structures, especially in buildings that remain empty overnights and on weekends. Never use household extension cords with space heaters and make sure they are turned off when not in use.

  1. Cooking

At first, it may seem surprising that cooking would be the greatest cause of fires in commercial buildings, until you realize that at least some cooking is done in just about every commercial structure. Even small offices are likely to have a small kitchen or area where there is a microwave and coffee machine. When you add in the fact that restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other commercial buildings have a significant amount of cooking that takes place, the problem is easier to recognize.

Damage from fires is one of the calamities that are usually covered by even the most basic business insurance program. An exception to fire damage that would be covered would be that related to arson, where there is significant evidence the fire was intentionally started.

Your business and commercial structure faces multiple threats each day, with fires just being one of them. Are you properly covered? Contact one of our business insurance specialists and get your no cost, no obligation business insurance review and price quote. We are here to help protect your business.


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