At least 26 Iowans were killed in fire related incidents in 2013. Ron Humphrey, with the State Fire Marshal’s office, says Iowa had over 40 fire-related deaths each of the previous two years. “Compared to last year, in 2012, we had 42 fire deaths. So, we’re down quite a bit,” Humphrey says.
There are likely several reasons for the decline in fire fatalities this year, but Humphrey gives credit to properly working smoke alarms. Since 2010, the State Fire Marshal’s office has kept a tally of “lives saved” by smoke detectors.
Humphrey says that figure has risen each year as smoke detectors are installed in more Iowa homes. “We’ve seen those ‘lives saved’ go up over the course of the last three years and obviously this year, we have a major decline in the number of fire deaths in the state,” Humphrey says.
Most of the fire-related deaths in 2013 could’ve been prevented, according to Humphrey. “A lot of them were accidental…candles or smoking materials not put out properly,” Humphrey said. He’s hoping the relatively low number of fire deaths in 2013 will start a trend. “We won’t know, until we get through the next couple of years, if this was just a good year and the fire fatalities were low. We’ll find out if the numbers will stay down or if they’ll go back up,” Humphrey said.