Philly Fire is One of the Deadliest Fires in Decades

Jan. 6, 2022
The NFPA says that the Philadelphia rowhome fire that claimed the lives of 12 people, including eight children, tied for the sixth deadliest fire since 1980.

Yesterday's deadly rowhome fire in Philadelphia is among the top 10 deadliest home fires in the U.S. in four decades.

The loss of 12 people, including eight children, tied for the sixth deadliest fire since 1980, according to data collected by the NFPA.

Officials said the rowhome, owned by the city's Public Housing Authority, had four smoke detectors but none were working in their investigation after the fire.

According to the most recent  NFPA Smoke Alarms in the US Home Fires report, almost three out of five home fire deaths occurred in properties with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate.

The report showed that 25 percent of the smoke alarm failures were due to dead batteries, with disconnected or non-working power sources accounting for the bulk of the non-working detectors.

Below is a breakdown of the top nine deadliest home fires in the U.S. since 1980, according to NFPA data.

# of DeathsDateIncident Type Location
26, including 1 firefighterOct. 1, 1991Oakland Fire StormOakland, CA
24Sept. 4, 1982Dorothy Mae apartment building fireLos Angeles
16Dec. 24, 1989John Sevier Senior Center fireJohnson City, TN
14July 5, 1982Apartment building fireWaterbury, CT
13Dec. 28, 2017Apartment building fireBronx, NY
12May 3, 1993Apartment building fireLos Angeles
12Sept. 30, 1987House fireMilwaukee
12Dec. 18, 1980Avalon apartment building fireSalt Lake City
12Jan. 5, 2022Rowhome firePhiladelphia 
About the Author News

Content curated and written by Firehouse editorial staff, including Susan Nicol, Steven Shaw, Peter Matthews, Ryan Baker and Rich Dzierwa.

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