For the second consecutive year, the city of Boston has reported the lowest number of deaths from fire out of the nation's large cities.
The only fire-related death in Boston last year was in early 2012. An elderly man who lived in a high-rise apartment in Dorchester was killed in a three-alarm blaze that also sent three others and a firefighter to the hospital.
Boston's only fire death in 2012 is low compared to Baltimore with 12, Philadelphia with 25, Milwaukee with eight, Phoenix with six, and Washington D.C. with seven. There have been four total fire deaths in the city since 2009.
“The men and women of the Boston Fire Department do an outstanding job protecting and serving the people of the city each and every day," Commissioner Roderick Fraser said. "This has been a team effort that I am very proud of.”
Several factors go into having fewer fire deaths in Boston compared to other large cities, according to the fire department.
"First and foremost is having a fully staffed fire department," spokesperson Stephen MacDonald said. "Having 'boots on the street' working in the neighborhood firehouses, ready to respond is the first line of defense."
Another positive factor is the replacement of aging fire trucks with a modern and efficient fleet.
"This has enabled the firefighters to arrive quickly to incidents, often within four minutes, and aggressively work to keep the fires small," MacDonald said.
Additionally, having a new training academy and a proactive fire prevention division helps keep fatal fires to a minimum, MacDonald said.
"Our fire marshal works daily with developers,contractors, the hospitality industry and the public to make sure fire codes and regulations are followed and, where necessary, strengthened," he said. "Such things as updating the smoke detector law, establishing rules for cleaning commercial kitchens, inspecting places of assembly on a regular basis and educating the public are all factors in fewer fire deaths."
Fraser also credited the role residents of Boston and visitors of the city play in keeping Boston safe.
"It is making sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where you live," he said. "Servicing your heating systems, not parking in front of hydrants, having an escape plan in case of a fire, keeping exits and fire escapes free of clutter. Also, not leaving candles unattended, properly putting out your cigarette and keeping grills on the ground away from the building. All these things contribute in making Boston one of the most fire-safe cities in the country.”