Apparently it's been determined that it wasn't a cow that kicked over the lamp that caused the Chicago fire. It was some kids playing around with the lamp that started the fire....they just blamed the poor cow.
I'm really no fan of PVC. You can't bend it easily...and I've seen lots of shattered pipe during my strolls past jobsites.
In New York, it's commonly used as conduit for underground telephone wires though...so it has to be strong enough, considering the amount of weight that's placed above them (dirt, paving, trucks, cars, etc).
However I think most in-house potable water piping is still done mostly in copper...at least the examples I've seen.
WARNING - Changing locality -
In Colombia, PVC pipe is common in new construction for in-house potable water pipe. Cheaper than copper equivalent...that's for sure.
Electrical conduit placed IN WALL is common there also. A lot of single-family houses are solid masonry throughout - brick, block and mortar. Ditto two and three family houses.
PVC conduit and plastic boxes are also popular for these applications.
The RFP for a new building for the Colombian Army called for Romex sheathed in PVC conduit that would be placed inside the masonry walls of the building. It was posted on the Colombian government's website.