State Fire Marshal Dan Wood says there have been fewer fire fatalities in Iowa so far this year compared to 2019.
“Fire deaths are down. This time last year, we had 43 fire deaths in Iowa where right now we have 28,” Wood says. “Of course, I’d like to have zero, but having 28 at this time instead of 43 like we did last year, that’s definitely an improvement.”
Wood says the state fire marshal’s office has been called upon to investigate fewer fires this year as well. State law does not require fire departments to report structure fires to the Fire Marshal’s office, but many do. The state fire marshal says most house fires that lead to a fatality are in homes that do not have a working smoke detector.
“With the Daylight Saving Time coming, we always encourage both in the spring and in the fall when you change your clock, change the batteries in your smoke detectors,” Wood says. Sunday, November 1st is the start of Daylight Saving Time when clocks “fall back” an hour.
The State Fire Marshal’s website indicates the total number of fires has been decreasing nationally, but the rate of fire-caused deaths has not. The State Fire Marshal says that’s partly due to modern trends, like open spaces and the use of building materials that cause fires to spread more quickly.