Residential fire fatality typologies in Sweden: Results after 20 years of high-quality data

Anders Jonsson, Marcus Runefors, Johanna Gustavsson, Finn Nilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Despite a positive long-term trend in fire mortality rates, more knowledge is required concerning the causes and typologies of fatal residential fires in order to improve preventative efforts and further decrease fatality rates. A previous study suggested that fatal residential fires can be grouped into six categories, however, the analyses were performed on a limited dataset that is now more than a decade old. As such, there are some uncertainties regarding the current situation. Also, in the previous study, no subgroups were analyzed separately, despite fatal fires being renowned for being strongly age-dependent. Method: This study re-analyzes the typologies for fatal residential fires in Sweden using cluster analysis, based on data for a period of 20 years with a particular focus on older adults. Results: The results suggest that the original cluster analyses were relatively robust for both the total population and for the elderly population, thereby indicating that fatal fires seem to be consistently grouped into certain types. Conclusions: The results suggest that preventative efforts can be directed toward these types of events involving identified individuals. The results also suggest that the number of fatal residential fires with unknown causes has increased in relation to other fires during the 20-year study period. Practical Implications: Fatal residential fires with unknown causes are more often large night-time fires occurring in houses in rural locations. In order to prevent these, both prevention and reactive strategies need to be re-evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-84
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Civil Engineering

Free keywords

  • Cluster analysis
  • Elderly
  • Fire mortality


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