NYC Fire Deaths Dropped 25% In 2019

Published on January 02, 2020, 3:01 pm
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Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro today announced the city had 66 civilian fire deaths in 2019, 25% fewer deaths than in 2018, when 88 people lost their lives in fires. This marks the fourteenth consecutive year there have been fewer than 100 fire-related deaths, an unprecedented period in New York City history.

“The men and women who serve in the FDNY are everyday heroes,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Their hard work and commitment to public safety have resulted in a sharp decrease in the number of New Yorkers who needlessly lost their lives last year. From fighting and investigating fires to providing outstanding medical care, I applaud each member’s bravery and service to our city.”

“Thanks to the brave work of every FDNY member, and despite a growing number of medical emergencies our members face, fewer New Yorkers lost their lives in fires in 2019,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “This outstanding achievement is the result of our members responding quickly, working together to remove those trapped by fire, providing unrivaled emergency medical care, thoroughly investigating fires, educating the public, and inspecting buildings and areas of public assembly throughout the city to ensure the safety of the public we serve.”


The 66 fire deaths in 2019 represented a 25% decline from 2018, when there were 88 deaths, continuing a trend over the last 14 years with fewer than 100 deaths annually in the city. The deadliest year in New York City for fires was 1970, when 310 people died in fires.


2019 66
2018 88
2017 73
2016 48
2015 59
2014 71
2013 67
2012 58
2011 66
2010 62

The causes of last year’s fire deaths, as determined by Fire Marshals, are as follows:

Electrical 15
Cooking 13
Smoking 8
Candle 6
Incendiary 6
Car Fires 4
Open Flame 2
Ignitable Liquid/Gas 2
Self-immolation 2
Hot Object 1
Incense 1
Under Investigation 6


FDNY EMS responded to a record high number of medical emergencies in 2019 – 1,531,870 – up from 2018, when they responded to 1,529,569 emergencies.

EMS responses fall into one of two broad categories – Segment 1-3, which include life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, unconscious and choking calls, and Segment 4-8, incidents which are triaged as non-lifethreatening incidents. FDNY EMS responded to 563,920 Segment 1-3 calls in 2019, and 967,950 Segment 4-8 incidents.


Through partnerships with community groups, elected officials, schools, senior centers, and various city agencies, the FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit (FSEU) coordinated or participated in more than 7,500 events in 2019, reaching more than 580,000 New Yorkers, a 4% increase from 2018. After every fatal fire, FSEU responds to effected neighborhood to provide fire safety education to residents and information on smoke alarm installation. As part of a continued partnership with the American Red Cross and the FDNY Foundation, the FSEU has distributed or installed more than 198,000 smoke alarms in homes across the city since 2015.

Fire and life safety education highlights from 2019:

  • School events represented 29% of total fire safety outreach conducted in 2019. More than 300,000 students participated in fire safety workshops, a 16% increase from 2018.
  • FDNY continued a partnership with the Department for the Aging to coordinate fire safety workshops at citywide senior centers, reaching more than 3,000 seniors.
  • In April, FDNY partnered with the Department of Youth and Community Development to coordinate fire safety education visits for more than 2,500 students from grades K-5 to 50 firehouses citywide.
  • FDNY partnered with Administration of Children Service to train 2,300 frontline child welfare staff members on how to examine homes for potential fire hazards and refer families for smoke alarm installations.
  • Throughout the summer, FDNY hosted its fifth annual summer block party series at five firehouses. The events were attended by 5,700 New Yorkers, who received information regarding fire and life safety. In the weeks leading up the events, FDNY partnered with the American Red Cross on door-to-door canvassing to install smoke alarms throughout the communities in which events were held. Through this initiative, 2,100 alarms were installed in more than 600 homes.
  • The FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit trained more than 27,800 New Yorkers, including 18,000 high school students, to perform bystander CPR. Immediate bystander CPR, coupled with defibrillation within the first few minutes after sudden cardiac arrest, can greatly increase a victim’s chance of survival.

Emergency response time data for fires and medical emergencies is available from NYC Analytics here.

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