Md. fire deaths reflect decline in U.S., but state is 21st worst

September 25, 1995|By Peter Jensen

Reflecting the U.S. trend, the number of fire deaths in Maryland has been declining, although last year it bucked the downturn.

Between 1981 and 1988, an average of 21.8 per 1 million state residents died as a result of fire. That ranked Maryland 21st worst among the 50 states, with Mississippi (49.6 per 1 million) at the top.

Neighboring Virginia (16th) and Pennsylvania (17) fared slightly worse, while Delaware (23rd) did slightly better, according to the analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.

But the 114 people who died in Maryland fires made 1994 one of the worst years for the state in the past 15 years. In 1992 and 1993, there were 94 and 80 deaths, respectively.

The increase in Maryland in 1994 was driven, in part, by a surge in Baltimore. There were 42 fire-related deaths in the city that year, compared with 34 in 1993.

Battalion Chief Hector Torres said the severe 1993-1994 winter and two unusually bad fires that killed 16 people were to blame. But it was still an improvement from the early 1980s, when Baltimore averaged between 53 and 65 deaths a year.

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