The year has come and gone and sadly, fire safety is still very much an issue in the world today. Whether a third-world country or first-world country, no one has been immune to tragedy when it comes to fire. Every year, more and more technology is developed, either as a means of fighting the fire, or as a means of escaping the fire, and hopefully one day, thanks to advancements in technology, such tragedies will be a thing of the past. While the National Fire Protection Agency will likely not release this year's statistics on fire’s impact in the United States until fall of 2017, we thought it informative to take a look at some of the worst fires that happened over the past year so you can see just how much of a problem fire continues to be, even in first-world countries.
Three children killed in Gary apartment fire (December 24, 2016)
Three young children were killed in an apartment fire in Gary, Indiana. It’s horrific when anyone perishes in a fire, but when their ages are 2, 4, and 5, you feel it even more. Two of them were found in an upstairs bedroom, while the third was found in a stairwell. Investigators have yet to determine the cause of this fire, whether it was arson, electrical, or accidental. One woman made it out and was hospitalized until the following morning.
Bronx Apartment Fire Kills Two Young Sisters (April 13, 2016)
Another horrific incident in which 2 young sisters were killed, one age 2, and the other only 18 months. Ten other people were taken to the hospital with injuries, including three firefighters. The fire occurred in a 21-storey building. “This is my building. This is my home. I’ve never seen a fire like this.” said resident Kay Wilkins.
11 dogs killed in southwest Oklahoma City house fire (September 27, 2016)
This fire occurred in a home in which fourteen dogs lived. Eleven did not make it out alive. Firefighters were able to save three of the dogs using a pet oxygen mask to revive one of them. Animal welfare was contacted to help with the surviving dogs.
THE LATEST: Nine dead in early morning house fire in Memphis (September 12, 2016)
An early morning house fire in Memphis, Tennessee killed nine people, including five children, this past September. It was the most deaths in a single fire in Memphis since the 1920s. It took firefighters about fifteen minutes to extinguish the fire in the one-storey home to a family of ten. Just one out of ten family members survived this terrible tragedy.
Death toll of Oakland, Calif., fire rises to 33 (December 3, 2016)
By far the most well known fire on this list, this one occurred in a warehouse in Oakland, California. A fire broke out during a late-night dance party and over 30 people were killed. “If you were going there for a party, you wouldn’t be aware of the maze that you have to go through to get out,” said a former friend of the warehouse’s owners. Around 100 people were there for a party during which, the fire was able to spread due to clutter and a lack of fire sprinklers. The last major fire at a venue like this was October of 2015 in which 64 people were killed and nearly 150 injured in a nightclub in Romania.
There were many more fires this past year in the USA and throughout the world and the frequency of these kinds of fires does not seem to be decreasing at a rate you would expect. In 2004 there were about 1.55 million fires in the USA and in 2015 there were about 1.35 million fires, a decrease of less than eight percent. With the increase in technology, you would think the decrease would be more significant, but sadly, that’s not the case. Hopefully, in the future, as technology advances further and further, these statistics will dwindle into nothing. However, until then, we must learn what we can from such tragic instances, and continue moving forward.
Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager