U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage.
Facts and Figures
Automobile fires were involved in 10% of reported U.S. fires, 6% of U.S. fire deaths.
- On average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour. These fires killed an average of four people every week.
Mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in roughly two-thirds of the automobile fires.
Collisions and overturns were factors in only 4% of highway vehicle fires, but these incidents accounted for three of every five (60%) automobile fire deaths.
- Only 2% of automobile fires began in fuel tanks or fuel lines, but these incidents caused 15% of the automobile fire deaths.
Source: NFPA's "Automobile Fires in the U.S.: 2006-2010 Estimates" report by Marty Ahrens, September 2012.