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Fire-related deaths up in Washington County in 2012

Fire-related deaths decreased statewide from 67 in 2011 to 52 in 2012

January 10, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

Fire-related deaths claimed the lives of more Washington County residents in 2012 than 2011, despite a 22 percent decrease that was reported statewide over the same period, according to figures that were released Thursday by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Fire Marshal’s Office spokesman Bruce D. Bouch said three people died in Washington County as a result of fires in 2012, compared to one in 2011.

Statistics for the same time show fire-related deaths decreased statewide from 67 in 2011 to 52 in 2012.

Bouch said the statewide data does not include fire victims who currently are receiving medical care for potentially life-threatening injuries.

If the number of 2012 deaths holds, it would break a record for the fewest amount of fire-related deaths in the state. The previous record was 60 deaths in 2006 and 2008, according to the Fire Marshal’s Office. 

Bouch said he believed outreach programs to educate the public about fire safety have helped to drop the average number of annual fire related deaths from 77 over the past 20 years to 65 over the past five years.

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Those outreach programs, he said, include educating people about using smoke detectors and installing sprinkler systems in their homes.

Bouch said Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation in May requiring people to put sprinkler systems in single-family dwellings. The law will take effect statewide in 2016.

Despite the outreach, 2013 seems to have gotten off to rocky start.

Bouch said fire already has claimed the lives of five people in Maryland this year.

One person died as the result of a fire in Carroll County, he said. Two people died in Anne Arundel County, and two others died in Baltimore City.

To increase the chances of surviving a home fire, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends installing working smoke alarms on every level of a home and in sleeping areas. Authorities also suggest developing a fire-escape plan and installing fire sprinklers in newly built homes.

Fire-related deaths

Fire-related deaths in Washington County over the last six years:

2012 — 3
2011 — 1
2010 — 0
2009 — 5
2008 — 0
2007 — 0

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