Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products.
Fires pose the following dangers:
Asphyxiation - Asphyxiation is the leading cause of death in a fire, by a three-to-one ratio over burns.
Heat - A fully developed room fire has temperatures over 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Smoke - Fire generates black, impenetrable smoke that blocks the vision, stings the eyes, and clogs the lungs. It may be impossible to navigate through such smoke.
Fires in the Home
Roughly 85 percent of all fire deaths occur where people sleep, such as in homes, dormitories, barracks, or hotels. The majority of fatal fires occur when people are less likely to be alert, such as during nighttime sleeping hours.
Nearly all home and other building fires are preventable, even arson fires. The majority of arson fires are caused by juveniles who often respond to counseling, and the rest can be deterred in a number of ways. No fire is inevitable.
Fire victims are disproportionately children or the elderly. One out of every four fires that kill young children is started by children playing with fire and approximately 900 senior citizens die in fires annually.