The City of Springfield saw a significant decrease in the number of total fires, house fires and fire fatalities in 2013.
- The total number of fires fell nearly 18 percent from 1,061 in 2012 to 865 in 2013.
- The number of residential structure fires fell from 511 to 424; that’s a 17 percent decrease.
- In 2012, there were six fire fatalities compared to two in 2013 – a 66 percent reduction. The two fire fatalities are below Springfield's average of 3.5 per year.
No fatalities were a result of accidental structure fires.
The first fatality occurred in February at a home on North Texas Avenue as a result of a murder/suicide. Investigators determined two children were strangled before their mother died in the fire.
The second fire fatality occurred in May on South Plaza Avenue when a man burned himself on a kerosene heater while working on his car outside. He later died as a result of those burns.
Education is the key
The reduction in fires could be attributed to a number of factors, including an increased focus on fire safety education.
- In 2013, the Springfield Fire Department began offering new programs, including a juvenile fire setter program, fire extinguisher training and fire safety education for middle-school students.
- Fire crews made an effort to prevent apartment fires by visiting 8,500 apartment units and providing tenants with fire safety information.
- During fire safety month in October, crews provided fire safety education to 6,850 elementary students – 3,000 more than 2012.
Careless smoking is still a concern
Despite a focused educational campaign geared toward curbing careless smoking, it continues to be a big problem in Springfield. It remains the number one cause of fire fatalities in Springfield and caused nearly 30 percent of all residential fires. The percent of fires caused by careless smoking in Springfield is 15 times the national average.
The Springfield Fire Department will continue to educate residents about this serious issue by reminding smokers to dispose of their cigarettes in a deep, sturdy ash tray.
Prevention is a priority
In 2014, the Springfield Fire Department will continue its focus on how to prevent and respond to fires, educating families about the importance of working smoke alarms, having a home evacuation plan, cooking safety, responsible smoking and more.
If you are interested in learning more about the department's fire safety presentations and other trainings available to the public, call (417) 864-1500.