Insurance companies, adjusters and other real estate professionals need to be aware of the destruction that rodents can cause. Rodents, such as rats and mice, start fires by chewing on electrical wires that cause millions of dollars of structure damage each year.
It has been estimated that rodents cause up to 20% of undetermined fires in the United States each year. As a professional fire investigator, I have investigated numerous fires over the years involving rodent infestation in everything from houses to cars to motorcycles and even lawn tractors.
Mice and rats chew constantly because their teeth are always growing. They have incisor teeth that butt up against each other. They will chew through soft concrete, aluminum, wallboards, and plastic pipes. Field mice move undercover in the winter months and prefer to live near the warmth of electrical components.