Fire officials have not yet identified the cause of a deadly fire in Southwest Philadelphia that killed four young children early Saturday morning, but they have said that the fire is believed to have started in a couch located on the front porch of one of the homes involved. Eight row-style homes were destroyed in the fast-moving fire, and 42 people were reportedly displaced by the blaze.
The fire offers another example of the role of furniture flammability in home fire losses, a topic covered in the September/October 2013 issue of NFPA Journal. In its cover story, “Hot Seat,” Journal looked at new aspects of the furniture flammability discussion, including the development of new testing methods to determine the flammability of upholstered furniture.
According to an NFPA analysis, in recent years fires involving upholstered furniture have annually accounted for the largest share—nearly 20 percent—of all home fire deaths in the U.S., as well as $442 million in direct property damage, when upholstered furniture was the first item ignited.