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Summer Fire Hazards


In the two weeks following the horrific shooting in the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, seven churches in five southern states have had fires break out. Three of the fires were determined to be caused by arson, including the one that destroyed God's Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia. However, the most recent fire at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, S.C., does not at this time appear to have been caused by arson; investigators suspect lightning from the fierce thunderstorms in the area at the time.

Lightning fires peak from June through August. Between 2007-2011, fire departments nationally responded to over 22,000 fires caused by lightning annually. These fires were responsible for nine deaths, fifty-three injuries and 451 million dollars in direct property damage per year. The fires causing all of these catastrophic events were mostly house fires started by lightning.


Data collected by the U.S. Fire Administration reveals that the single biggest cause of residential building fires is cooking; in 2012, 48.7% of residential building fires were caused by cooking. Furthermore, cooking caused 36.8% of the residential building fires that resulted in injuries.

One form of cooking in particular causes nearly 8,800 home fires a year: grilling. Three out of five households own a grill, and while many people grill year round, July is the peak month for grill fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in 2012, 16,900 people went to the Emergency Room for injuries related to grills, and the majority of these injuries were thermal burns.

So why are there so many grill fires? The NFPA breaks down the statistics to better determine why using grills so often results in fires. One interesting statistic that emerged: one in every six house fires caused by grills started by something flammable being too close to the grill. Another trend that came to light: leaks or breaks were factors in one in every five grill fires. Finally, statistics supported the suspicion that gas grills contribute to more home fires than charcoal grills.

To help prevent grill fires, view the NFPA's video on grilling safety tips at


The Georgia Department of Public Health Residential Fire Prevention Residential Fire Prevention Program is based on the cooperation of fire departments throughout the state. The fire departments identify high-risk areas within their jurisdictions, and then target those areas for installation of smoke alarms and fire safety education. Teams of two fire fighters go residence by residence, installing smoke alarms and educating people about the need for maintenance of the alarms, and escape plans in case of a fire. Smoke alarms provide an early warning in the event of a home fire, and therefore cut the risk of dying from a house fire in half. Installing and maintaining smoke alarms, and having a practiced fire escape plan is well worth the investment of time and minimal cost.


If you have been injured or have suffered property damage due to fire, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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