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According to a new report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2005-2009, there were an average of 15,700 reported structure fires in high-rise buildings per year with an associated $235 million in direct property damage.
The report, “High-Rise Building Fires,” cites apartments, hotels, offices, and facilities that care for sick as accounting for roughly half of all high-rise fires. Structure fires in these four property classes resulted in $99 million in direct property damage per year.
Other findings from the report:
- In 2005-2009, high-rise fires claimed the lives of 53 civilians and injured 546 others, per year.
- The risks of fire, fire death, and direct property damage due to fire tend to be lower in high-rise buildings than in shorter buildings of the same property use.
- An estimated three percent of all 2005-2009 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings.
- Usage of wet pipe sprinklers and fire detection equipment is higher in high-rise buildings than in other buildings of the same property use.
Most high-rise building fires begin on floors no higher than the 6th story, the report said. The risk of a fire is greater on the lower floors for apartments, hotels and motels, and facilities that care for the sick, but greater on the upper floors for office buildings, it said.