Can Wildlife in the Home Lead to Fires?
I received a question once regarding the causes of house fires. The person claimed to quote, Billy the Exterminator who allegedly said, “1/3 of all house fires are caused by wildlife. ”
I responded with a “Wow!” That is quite a claim. I don’t know if Billy said this or not. But let’s explore the possible accuracy of the claim.
Do Wildlife Cause a 1/3 of all House Fires?
http://www.ehow.com/facts_5150506_leading-causes-house-fires.html says that cooking causes 36% of all house fires. Well, if that is true than that means there is still room for wildlife to cause a 1/3 of all house fires.
But, farther down on the page, it says that electrical problems are a leading problem. Interestingly it says that people overloading the line is the cause. Now here is the challenge.
Electrical Caused Fires Doesn’t Really Tell Us Anything
What is the real cause of the fire? Overloaded lines or the rodent gnawing (assuming the rodent actually damaged it) or both? The problem is how would we ever know? It is very likely that fire destroyed the evidence of rodent presence as the insulation of the wire would be burned away. Plus the heat might melt the wire removing any sign of gnawing.
A more reliable source on the causes of house fires consult the Centers for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Fire-Prevention/fires-factsheet.html
I don’t know if Billy made this claim or not. But without more evidence, I have serious doubts that wildlife causes a 1/3 of all U.S. house fires no matter who claimed it reality.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator. He is available for lectures, workshops, and legal testimony on wildlife damage related topics.