Thursday, August 27, 2015

In 2012, fire deaths lowest since 2009

While homicides spiked in 2012 fire fatalities reached a record low.

In 2012, fire deaths lowest since 2009

Firefighters battle a fire.  ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )
Firefighters battle a fire. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

While homicides spiked in 2012 fire fatalities reached a record low.

There were 25 fire-related deaths in Philadelphia by year’s end –the lowest since 2009, the fire department announced today.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers pointed to the department’s community risk reduction and outreach efforts in getting the fire death toll down.

“We’re on the mark,” Ayers said. “We’re doing the right thing focusing on the educational part of the fire equation other than just putting out fires.”

But for Ayers 25 fatalities is still too many, the goal, he said is zero.

A majority –13 of the fatalities occurred in properties that were without smoke alarms or had inoperable smoke alarms.

The fire department also responded to 276,939 emergency incidents –a .3 percent decrease from 2011. Notably of those emergency calls 45,419 were fire-related –a decrease of 5.3 percent and the remainder were emergency medical calls which were up by .8 percent.

With fewer fires these days, Ayers has been working hard to shift the department’s focus toward fire prevention and received a load of backlash from the firefighters’ union and City Council for a plan to rotate 293 senior firefighters by the end of the month.

The union slammed the plan calling it “dangerous,” and Ayers argued the rotations would broaden firefighters' experience by exposing them to busier locations and various neighborhoods. Ayers said the data released today speaks to his goals for the department.

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to
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