In March, a gas explosion and fire involving two mixed-occupancy buildings in New York killed eight people and injured 61. PHOTO: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA
Last year firefighters responded to an estimated 1,298,000 fires in the United States. Twenty-four of these fires were categorized as catastrophic multiple-death fires, defined as fires or explosions in residences that result in five or more fire-related deaths, or fires or explosions in all other structures and outside of structures, such as wildfires and vehicle fires, that claim three or more lives.
The new September/October issue of NFPA Journal includes a detailed look at the 2014 U.S. Catastrophic Fire Report compiled by NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division. The article includes a synopsis of the statistics, as well as the conditions and circumstances behind these tragedies.
These 24 fires killed 128 people, and accounted for 0.002 percent of the total estimated fires and 3.9 percent of the total fire deaths in the U.S. in 2014. By comparison, there were 20 catastrophic multiple-death fires in 2013, resulting in the deaths of 122 people, including 28 children under age six.
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