Fatal Fires: Summary

Ontario Fatal Fires: 10 years, 2006 - 2015

The information in this report is for Ontario Fatal fires during the ten year period from 2006 to 2015

Data Source: The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) investigates fatal fires in Ontario.

Revised: December 2016

 

Ontario Fire Fatalities

In most fires only 1 person dies, however there are a small number of fatal fires each year where there are multiple fatalities.

In 2006, there were 81 fire fatalities.
In 2015, there were 94 fire fatalities.


Fire deaths on First Nations and Federal properties in Ontario are excluded from the graph totals.
Fire deaths in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.

Fatal Fires Summary


Fire Death Rate in Ontario: All Fatalities

The fire death rate is the number of fatalities per million population.

In 2006 there were 81 fire deaths, the population was 12.2 million, the fire death rate was 6.6

In 2015 there were 94 fire deaths, the population was 13.8 million, the fire death rate was 6.8.

Fire deaths on First Nations and Federal properties in Ontario are excluded from these totals.
Fire deaths in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.
Population Source: Statistics Canada

Fire Death Rate in Ontario: All Fatalities


Fire Death Rate in Ontario: Structure Fires 

The majority of the fire deaths occur in structures.

The structure fire death rate is the number of structure fire fatalities per million population.

In 2006 there were 75 fire deaths in structures, the population was 12.2 million, the fire death rate was 6.1

In 2015 there were 85 fire deaths in structures, the population was 13.8 million, the fire death rate was 6.2

Fire deaths on First Nations and Federal properties in Ontario are excluded from these totals.
Fire deaths in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.
Population Source: Statistics Canada.

Fire Death Rate in Ontario: Structure Fires


Ontario Fatal fires

The number of fatal fires in Ontario was 75 in 2006 and 88 in 2015.

Fatal fires occurring on First Nations or Federal properties are not included in graph totals.

Fire deaths occurring in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.

Fire Death Rate in Ontario: All Fatalities


Fatal fires by month: 10 year averages

A higher number of fatal fires/fire fatalities occur in the winter months.  Fatal fires involving smoking and heating are higher during this period.

The 2006 to 2015, 10 year average number of fatal fires per month were:

January - 8;  February - 7;  March - 9;  April - 6;  May - 7 ;  June - 4;  July - 5;  August - 5;  September - 4;  October - 6;  November - 7;  December – 9.

Fatal fires occurring on First Nations or Federal properties are not included in these totals.
Fire deaths occurring in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.

Fatal fires by month: 10 year averages


Ontario Fatal Fires by Hour of day

More fatal fires occur in the late night/early morning hours. 

44% of fatal fires occurred between 10 pm and 6 am (2006 to 2015).

Fatal fires occurring on First Nations or Federal properties are not included in these totals.
Fire deaths occurring in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.

Ontario Fatal Fires by Hour of day


Fatal Fires: Cause class

Most fatal fires are unintentional and could have been prevented. 
Over 10 years, OFMEM Fire Investigators have determined that 19% of the fatal fires were Intentional (Arson, homicide, suicide), 51% were Unintentional/Preventable, 30% Undetermined (the evidence was destroyed or inconclusive).  Less than 1% of fires were under investigation at the time of this report.

Unintentional/Preventable Fires include:

  • Misuse of Ignition Source or material first ignited 41%
  • Electrical/mechanical failure 4%
  • Children playing, less than 1%
  • Design/construction/maintenance deficiency 2%
  • Other unintentional 4%

Fatal Fires: Cause class


Fatal Fires: Property Class

85% of fatal fires occurred in Residential properties. 
Vehicle fire deaths (5%) are those where the fire DID NOT result from a vehicle accident - these deaths occurred in parked vehicles, and often the fire was intentionally set (e.g. suicide). 

7% occurred outdoors or in structures not classified by the building code (e.g. shed, barn) - the majority of “Not classified by Ontario Building code”  are outdoor fires.

2% occurred in Industrial, 1/% in Detention and Care.

The majority of unintentional/preventable fires resulting in a fire death are in residential occupancies, so the focus of the following information is on fatal fires that occur in the home.

Fatal Fires: Property Class


Fire Death Rate in Ontario: Residential Structure Fires

The majority of the structure fire deaths occur in residential structures.

The residential fire death rate is the number of residential fire fatalities per million population.

In 2006 there were 72 fire deaths in residential structures, the population was 12.2 million, the fire death rate was 5.9.

In 2015 there were 83 fire deaths in residential structures, the population was 13.8 million, the fire death rate was 6.

Fire deaths on First Nations and Federal properties in Ontario are excluded from these totals.
Fire deaths in vehicle accidents are not included in these totals.
Population Source: Statistics Canada

Fire Death Rate in Ontario: Residential Structure Fires


Residential Fatal Fires: Ignition Source

The ignition sources in 10 years of fatal residential fires (652 fires) were determined by OFMEM investigations.

Fires where the Ignition source is Unknown (Undetermined, Unintentional Undetermined, not reported or under investigation) 31% (204 fatal fires).

Lit Smokers’ materials (cigarettes, pipes) is the ignition source that is involved in the most fatal fires at 25% (166 fatal fires).

Arson which includes homicide and suicide was the cause in 14% of fatal fires (90 fatal fires).

Cooking equipment is at 10% (67 fatal fires).

Matches and Lighters, 4% (24 fatal fires).

Electrical wiring, 4% (26 fatal fires).

Candles, 2% (12 fatal fires).

Heating - including furnaces and fireplaces, 2% (12 fatal fires).

Residential Fatal Fires: Ignition Source



Residential Fatal Fires: Ignition Source 

Average number of fire fatalities per year

Excluding arson and ignition source undetermined

Comparing the average number of fire fatalities by ignition source during the 5 year period 2006 to 2010 with the 5 year period 2011 to 2015 shows that fire fatalities in fires ignited by cigarettes have increased.

Cigarettes 2006-2010, average of 17 fire fatalities per year.
Cigarettes 2011-2015, average of 19 fire fatalities per year.

Cooking 2011-2015, 6 fire fatalities per year.

Matches and Lighters 2011-2015, 1 fire fatality per year.

Electrical wiring 2011-2015, 2 fire fatalities per year.

Heating 2011-2015, 1 fire fatality per year.

Candles 2011-2015, 1 fire fatality per year.

Residential Fatal Fires: Ignition Source  Average number of fire fatalities per year


Residential Fire fatalities: By age group

From 2006 to 2015:

  • 3% (24) of the fire fatalities were under 10years;
  • 5% (39) were 10 to 19;
  • 6% (40) were 20 to 29 ;
  • 8% (61) were 30 to 39;
  • 16% (118) were 40 to 49;
  • 17% (125) were 50 to 59;
  • 15% (109) were 60 to 69;
  • 16% (115) were 70 to 79;
  • 14% (104) were 80+.

(For more information see report: “Residential fatalities 10 years: Adult, children, seniors”.)

Residential Fire fatalities: By age group


Smoke Alarm Operation: Fatal Residential fires *

* Arson fires not included

Fire investigations provided information on smoke alarm operation in 73% of preventable fatal residential fires – in 22% the presence of a smoke alarm could not be determined.

In 35% of preventable residential fires where there was a fatality there was no smoke alarm warning:  17% there was no smoke alarm, and in 18% the smoke alarm did not operate (3% of alarms had a dead battery, 6% had no battery, 3% were beyond the smoke area, 7 % other reason for non operation).

In 30% of these fatal fires there was a smoke alarm that operated.

In 8% of these fatal fires the operation of the smoke alarm could not be determined.

Note:  Residential property types “Detached garage” and “Tent” are excluded from these fatal fires.

Smoke Alarm Operation: Fatal Residential fires