Common Causes of Fire Damage in Your Business

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In the business setting, fire prevention is a matter of extreme importance, as fires put livelihood, productivity, and the lives of business owners and employees at stake. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), during the five-year period of 2007-2011, fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year, leading to a staggering $112 million in damage, several injuries and even death.

As a business owner, a single fire event can incur a lot of losses. Thankfully, there are some steps that can make workplace fires preventable. ServiceMaster by PWF discusses the common causes of fire damage in businesses and commercial establishments, as well as the steps to take to prevent them, in this article.

What Causes Business Fire Damage?

Listed here are the most common causes of commercial fires, according to the NFPA:

Cooking Equipment

Cooking equipment is the top source of fires in both residential and commercial buildings. Grease fires and poor ventilation are the most common causes of cooking fires.

Steaming Pan
Photo by Republica (via Pixabay)

Electrical and Lighting Systems

Electrical malfunctions stem from faulty or under-maintained wiring and electrical systems, as well as overloading extension cables. Make sure that your business has routine electrical system maintenance to reduce the risks of fires.

Bulb Light
Photo from Pixabay.

Heating Equipment

Based on 2012-2016 annual averages of the NFPA, “most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved stationary or portable space heaters”. Heating fire deaths were most often due to placing the heating equipment close to flammable materials, such as bedding, mattresses, or upholstery. Keep this in mind if the business has a living quarters.

Photo from Pixabay.


Arson is simply an intentional fire, which often occurs after work hours. This type of fire causes the most damage to property and the highest number of injuries and casualties. To prevent intentional fires, make sure to empty trash bins and dumpsters. Installing motion detector cameras can also help.

Match with Fire
Photo by 955169 (via Pixabay).

Smoking Materials

The NFPA states that smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. To prevent fires from smoking materials, smoke outside and away from combustible materials. Use ashtrays and never smoke if you are tired, sleepy, or near medical oxygen. Also, create a smoking policy in the office.

Cigarette with Smoke
Photo by realworkhard (via Pixabay).


According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), exposures “are defined as anything in the immediate range of a fire that is not burning but could start burning if the fire is not contained. When enough oxygen is available, combustible material burns once its temperature reaches its ignition temperature.”

In addition, “preventing exposure fires requires protecting the objects from heat spread and thus from reaching their ignition temperatures.”

Photo by Hans (via Pixabay).

Office or Electronic Equipment

Fires of an electronic nature could be linked to the improper usage of an electronic device, use of defective electronic equipment, overloading an adapter, and placing combustible materials on or near electronic devices, according to the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).

Photo by JoshuaWoroniecki (via Pixabay).

How Do I Prevent Commercial Fires?

Aside from the ones mentioned beforehand, here’s what else businesses can do to prevent fires in their facilities:

What to Do After a Commercial Fire in St. Augustine, Florida

fire damageWhen a commercial fire is not prevented on time, you can call a trusted fire damage restoration company in St. Augustine to handle the aftermath of the disaster. ServiceMaster by PWF is the leading restoration and repair company in Northeast Florida when it comes to fire damage repair.

We are a licensed General Contractor and an IICRC-certified firm, and we have skilled, well-trained and experienced employees. Call us at (866) 599-0871 or message us at

ServiceMaster by PWF services St. AugustineJacksonvillePinellasClearwaterSt. PetersburgGreen Cove SpringsPonte Vedra BeachFleming IslandDunedinLargo, and other parts of Pinellas, St. Johns, Duval, and Clay County  Our Emergency and Disaster Service Division is available 24/7 and responds quickly to any commercial or residential disaster caused by fire or water.