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Press Releases / 2004 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2004

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta Announces
2004 Third Quarter Civilian Fire Fatality Statistics
Down Nearly 35% Compared To 2003 Figures

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced that third quarter civilian fire fatality statistics for 2004 show a decrease of nearly 35% compared to 2003. From January through September 2004 there were 58 fire fatalities compared to 88 during the same period in 2003. In addition, this figure represents a 25% decrease in the average number of fire fatalities for the same period over the last 5 years.

In September 2004, the city recorded one fire fatality—the lowest recorded number of fatalities for the month of September in 35 years. Today, the city’s fire fatality rate continues to be at its lowest levels in more than 75 years.

“While our latest statistics continue to show a downward trend in civilian fire fatalities, we must remember that one life lost to fire is one too many,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “Most fires are preventable and by being vigilant, you can reduce your risk of injury or death by learning how to protect yourself and your family from the ravages of fire.”

During the year, community outreach efforts by the Department’s Fire Prevention Unit and the Fire Safety Education Fund have continued to be effective tools in educating the public about the dangers of fire. Most recently in September, the FDNY Fire Zone received a $676,000 Department of Homeland Security grant to take its fire safety and prevention message to high-fire risk neighborhoods throughout the city’s five boroughs.

Nationally, October is Fire Prevention Month. Every year at this time the Fire Department reminds everyone of the dangers of fire and urges all New Yorkers to be aware of fire hazards at home and at work and practice fire prevention and safety. It is particularly important during the upcoming winter months when, traditionally, the city sees an increase in the amount of residential fires and fire-related injuries and fatalities.

New Yorkers can reduce their risk of fire and fire related injuries by taking a few simple steps:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector. At least one smoke detector should be placed on each level of your home and it is highly recommended that additional detectors be placed in the sleeping areas and kitchen.
  • Never remove the batteries from your smoke detectors without replacing them with fresh new batteries. Test your smoke detectors often. Remember a smoke detector can save your life—but only if it is working.
  • Smoking continues to be the #1 cause of fire fatalities in NYC. Of the 58 fire fatalities this year, 31% were directly attributed to careless smoking. If you must smoke, always ensure that cigarettes are completely extinguished before you discard them.
  • If you use candles, make sure to create a 1-foot circle of safety around them and always ensure that they are completely out before leaving your home. Never leave a small child or pet alone with a lit candle.
  • Do not overload outlets and never run extension cords under carpeting or furniture.
  • Create a home fire escape plan with your family. Practice it! Know how to get out alive.
  • For more information on fire safety visit the FDNY Fire Zone—the Fire Department’s state-of-the-art educational center in Rockefeller Center or online at

Third Quarter Data 2000-2004


3rd Quarter Fire Fatality Totals (January through September)












Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / David Billig (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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