As shown in Figure 1, Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from 12 to 4 p.m., peaking from noon to 1 p.m., when many are expected to be preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Cooking fires, discussed in the section “Causes of Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings,” account for 69 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. Fires then decline throughout the evening, reaching the lowest point during the early morning hours (2 to 3 a.m.).
Cooking is, by far, the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 69 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (97 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage. By comparison, cooking is the cause of 42 percent of residential building fires that occur on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving Day. Heating, at 10 percent, is the next leading cause of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. Eighty-five percent of heating fires are small, confined fires.
Seventy-nine percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are confined to the object of origin (Figure 2). Included in these fires are those coded as “confined fires” in NFIRS. Nine percent of the Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are confined to the room of origin, and the remaining 12 percent extend beyond the room of fire origin.