Overall, however, there were three percent fewer fires in 2014 than in 2013
In 2014, there were 28,989 fires across Massachusetts causing 54 civilian deaths, 310 civilian injuries and approximately $242 million in property damage. Of the 28,989 fires recorded last year, approximately 800 were reported as caused by arson. Overall, in its annual fact sheet the Department of Fire Services says that fires are down some three percent from 2013. The following are some highlights and graphs from the report that we have reprinted courtesy of the Department of Fire Services.
Types of Fires
In 2014, there were 17,353 Structure Fires involving homes and other types of buildings resulting in 28 civilian deaths, 275 civilian injuries, 416 Fire Service Injuries and $212 Million in Property Damage.
Motor Vehicle Fires were up three percent from 2012, with 2,587 fires recorded in 2013. Approximately 75 of those fires were due to Arson. There were 10 civilian deaths, 24 civilian injuries, and 16 Fire Service Injuries caused by Motor Vehicle Fires last year with a total of $27 Million in Property Damage. Since 1985, motor vehicle arson has decreased 98%.
The remaining fires, categorized as Other Fires, totaled 9,888, a 12% drop from 2012. Six civilians were killed as a result of these Fires, with another 24 Injured. Forty-six Fire Service Injuries were also reported as a result of these other Fires. Of the almost 10,000 Fires this year, 632 were due to Arson. A total of $5,000,000 dollars in Property Damage resulted from these types of fires.
Causes of Residential Structure Fire Deaths
According to the Department of Fire Services, cooking is the number one cause of residential fires in Massachusetts and the number one cause of fires during the holidays. In fact, more home fires happen on December 25 than any other day of the year, except Thanksgiving. In 2013, six civilian deaths were caused by a cooking fire representing 22% of home fire deaths. The following is a graph highlighting the leading causes of Residential Structure Fire Deaths in Massachusetts.
Structure by Arson and Motor Vehicle by Arson
The following two graphs plot the tendency of structure arson and motor vehicle arson over the past ten years. According to the Department of Fire Services, structure arson increased by 3% from 2013 to 2014 while motor vehicle arson decreased 12% in the same time period. Of note, the DFS says that motor vehicle arson has fallen an impressive 98.7% since 1985. For the purpose of these statistics, a fire is considered arson “…when the cause is listed as intentional & age is not a factor or the person involved was over 18.” As a result, by virtue of this definition many “suspicious” and “juvenile-set fires” are excluded from these numbers.
Thanksgiving…..#1 Day for Home Fires
On a final note, the Department of Fire Services says that surprisingly there are more home fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year…the second worst day for fires is Christmas Day. As such, in honor of turkey day this Thursday, the following are some tips to help your insureds to have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.
• Remember to “stand by your pan” and stay in the kitchen when boiling, frying or broiling.
• Use a timer when baking or roasting and never leave the house with the oven running.
• The best way to respond to a stovetop fire is to “put a lid on it” and turn off the heat.
• The best way to respond to an oven or broiler fire is to keep the doors closed and turn off the heat
• Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent accidental spills of hot contents.
• Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Loose fitting clothing can easily catch fire.
• Create a 3-foot “child-free zone” around the stove.
• Keep combustible objects such as potholders, towels, paper or plastic bags away from heating elements.
• Burn candles inside a 1-foot circle of safety free of anything that can burn.
• Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
• Let guests know the safest ways to exit in case of an emergency.
• Make sure all smoke and CO alarms are working prior to the holiday.