On-duty Firefighter Deaths Rose in 2013

After several years on a downswing, on-duty firefighter deaths were up in 2013.

There were 101 on-duty firefighter fatalities last year, including eight classified as Hometown Heroes, according to statistics compiled by the USFA.

During 2012, records show 83 firefighters died while serving their communities. There were 83 firefighter fatalities in 2011 as well, and 87 in 2010.

The number is preliminary as state fire marshals throughout the country will be contacted to make sure all on-duty deaths are counted.

Firefighters who suffer a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of responding to an emergency are considered Hometown Heroes.

There were four incidents in which multiple firefighters were killed – and three of those were in Texas.

Two firefighters were killed in Bryan; 10 in West and four in Houston. A wildfire in Arizona left 19 hotshots dead.

Of those who died, 42 were volunteers; 29 career; 22 wildland full-time; five wildland contract; one wildland part-time and one paid on call.

Trauma was the top killer of firefighters last year with heart attacks dropping to third. However, 26 causes are still pending so those numbers are likely to change.

The records also showed 45.5 percent of those who died were under 40.

Also, 29 personnel died battling wildland fires, while 21 perished at structure fires. Fourteen died in collisions which includes aircraft crashes.

The deadliest time for firefighters was 1700 to 1859 – when 30 firefighters perished; and 11 died between 1900 and 2059.

June and April were the deadliest months, while the fewest occurred in January and September.

Arizona had the most firefighter deaths – 20 – followed by Texas – 14, and Pennsylvania, six.

A full report on the 2013 on-duty firefighter deaths will be published later this year.

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