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Multiple Firefighter Injuries in Recent Apartment Fires Point to Need for Fire Sprinklers

National Fire Sprinkler Association
·3 min read

Linthicum Heights, MD, April 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In two days, 24 firefighters were injured in separate apartment fires in New York and New Jersey.

On April 6th, 21 people were injured in a fire in a Queens, New York apartment building. The injured includes 16 firefighters, two who suffered burns, and five civilians. The building houses around 150 apartments. 240 people have been displaced by the fire.

On April 7th, fire tore through an apartment building in Staten Island, New York. Flames were seen billowing from a third-floor apartment. Four firefighters were hurt, one with serious injuries.

On April 7th, four firefighters were injured while fighting a three-alarm fire at a West Windsor, New Jersey apartment complex.

None of these apartment buildings were equipped with fire sprinklers. All these injuries could have been prevented had fire sprinklers been present in these buildings.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters are 11 times more likely to be injured in structure fires than in non-structure fires. Fire sprinklers greatly increase fire safety for both residents and firefighters. Fire sprinklers are widely recognized as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages – before they can cause severe injury to residents and firefighters, and damage to property.

While fire sprinkler systems have been in use in the United States since 1874, the number of residential buildings without these life- and property-saving systems is truly astounding. It wasn’t until after 2003 that national model codes required these low and mid-rise apartments to be protected with fire sprinkler systems. Unfortunately, some jurisdictions did not adopt them at that time.

“Every time the newsfeed brings in the facts about these fires we hold our breath,” says NFSA President Shane Ray. “As a former career fire officer, volunteer fire chief, and state fire marshal I have seen first-hand the modern-day challenges that face our nation’s fire service. Modern furnishings and the contents within our homes all make for a challenging fire ground. Fire sprinklers can prevent these events, saving lives and property as a result.” President Ray sends an e-mail to all NFSA members every Friday that spotlights reports where fire sprinklers save lives and property in all types of occupancies, especially apartments. President Ray believes there is an apartment saved nearly every day across America because of fire sprinklers and firefighters. He says, “it’s tough to see firefighters and occupants injured when we have a solution”.

These fires underscore the importance of the work of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and their Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives. Specifically, Initiative #15 addresses the importance of code enforcement and the installation of fire sprinklers.

“Fires like these are preventable,” added Dave Kurasz, Executive Director of the New Jersey and PenJerDel Chapters of the NFSA. “We can and must do a better job protecting the people who call these buildings their home. If fire sprinklers were installed in these structures, the occupants would still have all of their memories, belongings and personal items that mean so much to them, items that simply do not have a price tag.”

About the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA): NFSA was founded in 1905 and wants to create a more fire safe world, and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry. This industry manufactures, designs, supplies, installs, inspects, and services the world’s most effective system in saving lives and property from uncontrolled structural fires.

For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit www.nfsa.org for the latest material, statistics and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders in order to fulfill the vision of a safer world.

CONTACT: Vickie Pritchett National Fire Sprinkler Association 615-533-0305 pritchett@nfsa.org