What Are The Most Common Causes Of A Fire?

Tuesday 5th September 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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House fire coming through a window and the roof CONTENTS


House fires can quickly get out of control, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and putting people in danger. To stop one breaking out in your home, you must be aware of all the potential fire hazards and put in place the necessary preventative measures.

In the event of a fire on your property, ICE Cleaning’s specialist cleaners can provide comprehensive fire damage restoration services. They can remove all traces of soot and ash from your home, collect and dispose of waste, and neutralise any lingering odours. We operate nationwide, 365 days a year.

Keep reading to find out what the biggest causes of house fires in the UK are.

Cooking appliances

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires in the UK - it's responsible for 46% of fires in homes. When misused or left unattended, these everyday items can cause small fires that quickly escalate into serious blazes. 

Another cause of kitchen fires is grease fires which can occur if oil or fat overheats and catches fire. They may initially appear small, but their intense heat and resistance to water-based extinguishing methods make them exceptionally dangerous. You can find out more about what causes grease fires and how to prevent them here

To reduce the likelihood of a fire breaking out while cooking, homeowners must be proactive in maintaining safe practices around their kitchen appliances. This includes keeping flammable items like tea towels away from heat sources, and keeping fire extinguishers and fire blankets nearby in the event of a fire.

Electrical distribution systems

In the intricate network of a home's electrical system, there are often lots of hidden dangers. Plugging too many appliances into a single socket, for example, can strain the electrical system and lead to it overheating or short circuiting which can cause a fire. Exposed wires can also lead to a fire if the live and ground wires touch and create a spark. 

Inadequate wiring can overheat and lead to electrical fires, as well as put people at risk of electrocution, too. It is recommended you have your wiring inspected by a certified electrician if you are concerned about your wiring or live in an older property to ensure it is up to code. You can find out the signs you need your electrical wiring system checked here

To avoid fires caused by faulty electrical equipment and wiring, it is crucial to check for loose and frayed cords, make sure you don't overload plugs, and avoid running wires under rugs and furniture.  

Heating equipment

Heating equipment, like portable heaters and chimneys, can become a fire hazard if left too close to flammable items, like furniture, curtains, and clothing, or if they malfunction due to faulty wiring. If the heater uses fuel, such as kerosene, it could also ignite or explode. 

You should keep heaters a safe distance away from yourself and objects that can ignite, and must not use them to dry out clothing. Follow the instructions for the appliance carefully and regularly inspect it for signs of problems that may cause it to malfunction. You must not leave them unattended when in use, either. 


Careless smoking is one of the biggest causes of fires in the UK. Usually they are triggered by overfilled ashtrays that contain smouldering cigarette butts which ignite nearby flammable substances. 

Paying attention to how cigarettes are disposed of, and regularly and correctly emptying ashtrays significantly reduces the chances of accidental ignition. 

You should also avoid smoking indoors where possible. A lit cigarette can catch on or fall on something flammable, like a duvet or sofa, and quickly cause a major fire. You can learn more about how to smoke safely here


These charming decorations can present a real fire risk if not supervised or left near flammable items like drapes or paper.

To reduce the chances of a fire, it is crucial to position your candles away from any potential fire hazards. Remember never to leave them burning unattended and use sturdy holders specifically designed for candle use to ensure they don't get knocked over.

After a house fire, contact professional fire damage cleaners

In the event of a fire in your property, you must bring in professional cleaners for fire damage cleaning, like ICE Cleaning's technicians. They will have the specialist equipment and training required to quickly and thoroughly clean up all the fire damage, including any water left behind by firefighting. 

Fire damage is very dangerous to be exposed to and even traces of soot, ash, and smoke damage can cause a range of health problems including respiratory issues, skin problems, and even cancer. A professional clean is essential to make your property safe again and help you return to normal as soon as possible. 

Get in touch

Our fully trained technicians have access to the latest tools and equipment, and can take care of the entire aftermath of a house fire. In an emergency, they can be on site in several hours.

Contact our friendly team on 0208 066 0360 or at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our fire damage cleaning services and book your free site survey.

To learn about the most common causes of a fire in the workplace, check out this blog

Zoe Dunning

Zoe Dunning

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