UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Influence of Electrical Fires in Residential Homes : Geospatial Analysis Pointing to Vulnerable Locations and Equipment Failures Zheng, Alex; Rajabali, Fahra; Turcotte, Kate; Garis, Len; Pike, Ian


Secondary suites are becoming more common as a way to relieve the burden of rising housing prices in British Columbia and basements are often converted for this purpose. However, home owners often circumvent the permission and inspection requirements for these conversions in order to save on expensive upgrades for compliance. As a result, there are many under the radar secondary suites that go uninspected and often do not meet safety standards. In order to limit the increased risks these secondary suites pose, one plan is to send safety inspectors to visit and inspect homes. The purpose of this study is to aid inspectors by determining whether certain jurisdiction types, living spaces in the home (in particular basements), or equipment in the home carry increased risks for electrical fires and should be inspected with higher priority. Between 2004 and 2017, there were a total of 28,160 residential fire incidents in British Columbia; of which, 2,635 (9.4%) were electrical fires. These electrical fires resulted in a total of 150 casualties (combined deaths and injuries) and just over $150 million in damages.

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