(Jackson, MS – Insurance News 360) – Seventy nine individuals died from fire-related issues in 2018 across the state of Mississippi; the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) investigated 74 of those cases and local agencies investigated the others. This is an increase from 56 deaths in 2017 and 53 investigations by the SFMO.
This is a 36 percent increase, but State Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Ricky Davis does not call this a record-breaking number.
“As recently as 2006, the SFMO has investigated upwards of 100 fire deaths,” Davis said. ”In fact, in the last five years, we’ve significantly lowered the number of preventable fire deaths across the state. I can’t say specifically why the numbers are higher this year, but in a majority of these cases, a working smoke alarm could have saved lives.”
Of the 74 deaths investigated by SFMO, nearly 40 cases showed that there was no working smoke alarm.
State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney notes that a dozen cases involved the presence of non-working smoke alarms. “It’s upsetting because these fires were preventable, and in every one of these cases, a life could have been saved,” Chaney said. “The State Fire Marshal Office doesn’t just investigate after a fire has occurred. Our educators are out working in communities and schools every day.”
The SFMO urges people to install and maintain smoke alarms, make escape plans specific to their homes, and keep lighters away from children’s reach.
Electrical fires top the list, linked with 21 deaths. There were 13 cases where a cause for the fire could not be determined.
Source: Mississippi Insurance Department.