Fire Marshal's Corner: Catastrophic, Multiple-Fatality Fire

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This month's show focuses on a particularly troubling issue: catastrophic, multiple-fatality fires, where three or more people are killed per incident. By tracking these fires through several sources, for 2007 there were 113 incidents killing 431, 54 percent of them children. While these are occurring across the nation, there are definitely more of them in the eastern half of the country with a heavy concentration in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. You can see the distribution in an online map and spreadsheet.

A panel of experts joins host Ed Comeau to take a closer look at the problem. Senior Planning and Research Analyst Richard Taylor with the Maine State Fire Marshal's Office who provides a detailed, analytical look at the information that has been gathered for 2007. Unfortunately, a number of these incidents have occurred in Maryland, and particularly in Montgomery County, so giving us a state fire marshal's perspective is Maryland State Fire Marshal Bill Barnard and Montgomery County Fire Marshal Mike Love talks about it from the local level. We wrap up the show with some ideas about resources from Branch Chief Ken Farmer of the Leadership and Prevention Branch of the U.S. Fire Administration.

As we move into 2008, it appears that this problem is going to continue as there have been at least four incidents as of this posting. We're going to continue to monitor this situation and hopefully we can all come up with some strategies to combat catastrophic, multiple-fatality fires.

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Related Links

• Online map 2007 | 2008

• Online compilation 2007 | 2008

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