Fire Commissioner Announces Fire Deaths Increased to 73 in 2017 – Up From Record Low of 48 in 2016

January 5, 2018

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro today announced the city experienced 73 civilian fire deaths in 2017, 25 more than in 2016 when the city had the fewest deaths (48) in 100 years of accurate statistics.

In December alone, there were 26 deaths – the highest number in any month in decades.

The top three causes of fatal fires in 2017 were open flames (19), electrical (15), and smoking (11). In 53% of fatal fires in 2017 there was no working smoke alarm present.

Serious fires declined 8 % in 2017 compared to 2016; and there were more than 400 fewer serious fires compared to 2015 (a 15.5 % reduction).

Three serious fires in 2017 claimed 21 lives:

  • 4th alarm fire in Queens on April 23 where 5 people died (address – 112-14 208th Street);
  • 3rd alarm fire in Brooklyn on Dec. 18 where 4 people died (1946 East 14th Street); and
  • 5th alarm fire in the Bronx on Dec. 28 where 12 people died (2363 Prospect Avenue).

“While we have worked very hard in recent years to educate millions of New Yorkers about fire safety, several recent tragedies demonstrate our work is far from over and we must do all we can to reach everyone with vital, life-saving knowledge about how to prevent fires and what to do if you’re in a fire situation,” said Commissioner Nigro. “We mourn the loss of every life lost due to fire, and we commit to doing even more to make 2018 a safer year for everyone in our city.”

In recent years, the Department has dramatically increased outreach to communities with several initiatives, including Fire Safety Education presentations to more than 750,000 people annually, and a citywide initiative GETALARMED NYC, distributing and/or installing more than 150,000 smoke/CO alarms in homes and apartments throughout the city.

The Department also hosted thousands of people at fire and EMS stations at annual Open Houses and summer community block parties during the last three years, where fire and life safety messages were shared with participants.

In response to the recent Bronx fire that killed 12 people, the Department will be enhancing its Juvenile Fire-setters Intervention Program. The program, run by fire marshals with the Bureau of Fire Investigations, handles about 100 cases annually involving children who have been identified as having an unhealthy attraction or curiosity with fire play. Cases are referred to the program by court, medical or school personnel, as well as through community organizations and religious groups.



Commissioner Nigro also announced that Department ambulance response times for life-threatening medical emergencies have improved, to 6:44 from 6:51 in 2016. With fire unit response included, overall Department response times improved to 5:52 (from 5:56 in 2016) for more than 500,000 Segment 1-3 calls in 2017. (Segment 1-3 calls are for life-threatening incidents including cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, unconscious and choking patients.)

And a new record-high demand for FDNY response was set in 2017 – with 1,748,618 total emergencies responded to by fire and EMS personnel, up 14,139 from 2017, for a slight increase of .8% compared to 2016.


Year Number
2017 2,123
2016 2,313
2015 2,545


Year Number
2017 73
2016 48
2015 59
2014 71
2013 67
2012 58
2011 66
2010 62
2009 73
2008 86


Year Seg. 1-3 incidents EMS only response EMS+Fire Response
2017 565,754 6:44 5:52
2016 562,382 6:51 5:56
2015 566,210 7:13 6:13

(Department response time includes dispatch and travel time and does not include call processing time.)