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Fire Research Notes


Chandler, S.E., 1966. FIRES DUE TO THE IGNITION OF CARPETS AND FLOOR COVERINGS, 1955-62. Fire Research Notes 623


A survey has been made of' the incidence of fires in buildings in the period 1955-62 in which carpets and floor coverings were ignited first. In 1955 there were an estimated 692 fires in buildings attended by fire brigades in which carpets or rugs were ignited first: for 1962 the estimate was 1 046. The corresponding estimates for all floor coverings were 904 and 1 452 respectively. These represent increases of 51.2 per cent and 60.6 per cent in carpet and rug fires and all floor covering fires respectively over the eight year period. The annual incidence of all fires in buildings increased from 50 492 to 73 406 during the same period, an increase of 45.4 per cent. Carpeting fires increased at a faster rate than all fires in buildings after 1958, and there is some evidence that carpets made of the newer materials may be more hazardous than the older wool carpets. There has been a nine-fold increase in incidents involving the ignition of floor covering fires by oil space heating. Solid fuel space heating is the most important single cause of floor covering fires. Damage was generally slight, 85.8 per cent of' the incidents in 1962 being confined to the room of origin.

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