Fires in residential buildings contribute heavily to current fire loss statistics. A recent study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) points out that of approximately 9950 fire deaths in the United States in 1977 about 7800, or 78 percent, were residential. Very often, residents of townhouses and garden apartments in the United States are not getting the built-in fire protection they need and expect. They are not usually aware of this because they assume the community's building code protects them. The most important way to achieve greater safety for life and property is to require better fire-resistant construction. Controlling burnouts and providing basic fire protection requires: compartmentation, fire walls, fire-resistant floors, fire-resistant balconies, fire-resistant exterior walls, fire-resistant backup for mansard roofs, and firestopping. FIRE WALLS Fire walls must be self supporting and designed to maintain their structural integrity even with surrounding collapse. Such a wall is made of fire-resistant materials and installed as a barrier to confine the spread of fire to a limited area. Thorough building inspection is especially important in this type of construction. Fire walls must extend through adjacent combustible parts of the building, such as a roof, an exterior wall or balcony. Otherwise fire can spread from one apartment unit to another by igniting the combustible framing materials. The extension of a fire wall through and above any roof made of combustible framing elements prevents horizontal spread of fire across the roof. (With fire-resistant roofs, however, fire walls need not extend through the roof.) To prevent fire passage around the end of a fire wall, the fire wall must be extended beyond the exterior wall of the building.