There were 2,981 Structure Damaging fires in 2015.

What burned, and why?

91% of structure fires happened in residential buildings, including houses, townhomes, and apartment buildings. 8% were fires in commercial buildings, while 1% were in other structures such as churches and schools.

48% of structures were vacant at the time of the fire, with 46% of those occupied. 6% had unknown occupancy.

Determining the cause of a fire is difficult. The city's open data portal no longer reports fire causes, so we use the disposition code given by firefighters on the scene to determine the origin. Further investigation may result in the cause changing, but this information is not publicly available.

Based on the information given by the firefighters as reported at the scene, at least 53% of fires were either suspicious in nature or confirmed arson fires. 15% had "unknown" as the cause. Other leading causes included fires spreading to multiple structures and electrical fires.


Fires by Month

Structure Fires By Type

Structure Fires by Cause

Occupancy at time of fire

There are especially high concentrations of fires in specific parts of the city, as visualized in the map below.

Distribution of fires throughout the City of Detroit in 2015.

Distribution of fires throughout the City of Detroit in 2015.