The deaths of 97 on-duty firefighters in 2013--a sharp increase of this type of fatality in recent years--was largely attributed to two significant fires.
The new statistic comes from NFPA's latest U.S. Firefighter Fatalities report, which was unveiled today at NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. While overall firefighter deaths rates have declined in recent years, 2013 saw a spike due to 19 firefighters killed during the Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona. The incident is considered the deadliest incident for firefighters since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Moreover, a powerful explosion at a Texas fertilizer company killed nine firefighters. "This was the fifth consecutive year that the total number of firefighter deaths was below 100, but the 2013 death toll was much higher than it has been in recent years," says Rita Fahy, NFPA's manager of fire databases and systems, who presented the report's findings during a conference education session. "Our hope is that next year's report reflects the general decline in firefighter deaths we've seen in the past few years."