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Fire Fatality Stats

The Center for Campus Fire Safety – Fire Fatality Data  (updated 8/14/2018)

From January 2000 to present

92 fatal fires have been documented that occurred on a college campus, in Greek housing or in off-campus housing within 3-miles of the campus – claiming a total of 132 victims:

• 79 fires have occurred in off-campus housing claiming 113 victims
• 7 fires have occurred in on-campus building or residence halls claiming 9 victims
• 6 fires have occurred in Greek housing claiming 10 victims

Of the 92 fires documented:

• 14 were intentionally set claiming 22 victims
• 38 were accidental – includes cooking, candles, smoking or electrical claiming 51 victims
• 40 of the fires the cause was never determined – or the cause was not available at press time. These fires claimed 59 victims.  

Fire Fatality Statistics - Year 2000 to Present

The Center for Campus Fire Safety has been collecting Fire Fatality Statistics since Year 2000.

The Center for Campus Fire Safety provides basic information about fire fatalities that occurred on a university or college campus, or that occurred within the town where the campus is located. 

This data is collected from news sources from around the country and the accuracy of the reported data cannot be guaranteed. There are likely more fire fatalities that have occurred that were not reported as a campus fire. As more fires occur and more information is received about previous incidents, the Fire Fatality Data will be updated. Once fire data is received it is reviewed to determine if the victim matches the criteria as defined by The Center as a campus related fire.

This definition is as follows:

On-Campus Fire Death:
Any fire death occurring on a college or university campus. This includes academic, faculty, laboratories, physical plant, residence halls and family housing. Any person that has died in a fire located on the campus, or within 30-days of the fire is classified as an on-campus fire fatality.

Off-Campus Fire Death:
Any person 18 to 25 years of age enrolled as a student at an institution of higher learning and died in a residential dwelling unit fire that is located 3-miles or less from a  campus. This includes a rented house, duplex, apartment, rooming house or privately owned residence hall that was not the student’s permanent (family) residence.

Greek Fire Death:
Any person that died in a fire in a fraternity or sorority house.

Those not considered a campus related fire victims: Suicide victims by fire, family members visiting or living with the student, non-students that live with students in off-campus housing, former students, students living with a spouse or their children in a permanent residence.

USFA Stats

This is a report issued by the United States Fire Administration (USFA)

Campus Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2000-2015) Executive Summary

The goal of this report is to reveal the factors that are leading to the unnecessary fire deaths of college students. This study provides comprehensive information about campus fire fatalities to college and university fire and safety officials along with the local fire and emergency service organizations that serve these institutions so they can better plan to reduce and prevent injuries and deaths on college campuses in the future.

This report examines data from fatal campus fires and the fatalities that resulted from these fires, beginning with the horrific fire that took place in January 2000 at a Seton Hall University dormitory, where three students and 67 others were injured, through May 2015.

During the last 16 academic years from 2000 through 2015, there have been 85 fatal fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and off-campus housing, resulting in 118 fatalities — an average of approximately seven per school year. An astonishing 94 percent of fatal campus fires examined took place in off-campus housing.

Smoke alarms were either missing or had been tampered with (disconnected or battery removed) in 58 percent of fatal campus fires. Fire sprinklers were not present in any of the 85 fatal campus fires.


NFPA Stats

Dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks

Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: August 2016


The annual number of fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks reported to U.S. fire departments has been substantially higher in recent years than any time prior to 2000. Cooking equipment was involved in the vast majority of fires in these properties. Fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks are more common during the evening hours and on weekends.

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