Our Lost Neighbors: Mourning Those Lost to Fire, and Preventing More Deaths in the Year to Come

NY Daily News - January 06, 2018

by NY Daily News

Commissioner Dan Nigro of the FDNY had the anguished responsibility of announcing the number of lives lost to fire in 2017. It was the highest total in eight years: 73.

We grieve each death alongside their families and friends, and alongside New York’s Bravest, who labor so hard to save every man, woman and child in distress to whom they rush.

The year’s worst suffering came in a few terrifying final weeks. A shattered menorah savaged a Brooklyn family celebrating Chanukah; two elderly Bedford-Stuyvesant residents succumbed in smoke; and a Bronx apartment building burned like a fireplace, trapping 13 victims within.

Even before grieving ends, it is necessary for each and every New Yorker with the new year to commit to fire safety, vigilance needed in a city where homes and lives touch one another.

The year before last, saw 48 fatalities, the fewest in memory. We can get back to that low, and go lower, by following simple rules.

Keep smoke alarms functioning. Check their batteries regularly.

In case of fire, keep apartment doors shut to keep flames from spreading.

Watch candles and other open flames. Extinguish them before going out.

Always plug space heaters and appliances directly into wall sockets, never into a power strip. Turn off space heaters before going to sleep.

In sum, always keep those lost in our memories.