Annual Report Provides Comprehensive Account of Fire Fatality and Property Damage in the State 

TRENTON, N.J. – A fire occurred every 20 minutes, 34 seconds in the state in 2011, according to a new report issued today by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“Fire in New Jersey 2011” is an annual statistical analysis report, which provides fire and emergency incident data for the previous calendar year. This year’s report was released during National Fire Prevention Week (October 7 to October 13) and can be viewed at http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/ on the DCA website.

“Timely information is critical to helping fire officials and households make the best decisions about fire prevention. Yet again, our Division of Fire Safety has done great work in providing the public with pertinent data,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. “We commend the 93 percent of fire departments that submitted data about fire incidents and urge those departments that did not participate to do so next year. We also take a moment to remember the three firefighters who died in 2011 in the line of duty, making the supreme sacrifice in service to their fellow citizens.”

Thomas Shields, 41, of the Flanders Fire Department, Andrew K. Boyt, 45, of the Cape May Fire Department, and Jonathan Young, 49, of the Roselle Fire Department died from heart attacks while responding to fires. Since 1998, 49 firefighters in New Jersey have died in the line of duty. Of those, 27 firefighters (55 percent) have succumbed to heart attacks.

The report shows the following statistics for 2011:

  • 458,698 responses were made by fire departments.
  • 25,548 fires were reported.
  • 82 percent of all reported structure fires involved residential properties, 57 percent of those being 1 or 2 family dwellings.
  • 79 percent of all civilian fire fatalities occurred in residential properties.
  • 299 civilians were reported injured as a result of fire and 61 civilians lost their lives.
  • 516 firefighters were reported injured.
  • 282 fires were reported intentionally set in residential properties.

Fire department personnel also revived 261 civilians using an automatic external defibrillator (AED), according to data.

“While any civilian or firefighter fatality is one too many, progress is being made. As a veteran firefighter, I can recall when our civilian fire deaths sadly reached 70 within one month,” said Acting State Fire Marshal and Division of Fire Safety Director William Kramer, Jr. “The state’s commitment to establishing the most stringent fire code in the nation and aggressive enforcement of it has helped prevent fire-related deaths. The comprehensive effort to train and certify every member of our local firefighting corps and to provide ongoing re-training has also had a positive impact.”

“Fire in New Jersey 2011” is a statistical analysis of fire and emergency incidents in New Jersey, which the Division of Fire Safety is required to collect by law. The data collected and used in the formulation of this report comes from fire departments throughout New Jersey that participate in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

“Fire in New Jersey 2011” contains not only the facts about fire incidents in 2011, but vivid color photos of actual fire events and the firefighters who risk their lives to protect New Jersey’s citizens and property.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.

For more information, log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/ on the DCA website.