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City reports no fire fatalities for the year 2008

Date: 1/12/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Springfield has accomplished for the second time something few cities its size are able to achieve: no fatalities due to fire.

Fire Commissioner Gary Cassenelli made the announcement last Tuesday at a press conference that the city had no deaths due to fire in 2008. It previously had the same number in 2005.

Cassenelli noted that in 2005 the zero statistic broke a 50-year-plus record.

State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan said that although his analysis isn't yet complete for 2008 he believes that Springfield is the only large city in the state including Boston, Worcester and Cambridge -- with no deaths.

Cassenelli attributed the lack of deaths not only to the city's fire fighting personnel, who are "steadfast and dedicated to their core mission," but also to educational efforts teaching fire safety to young people.

One of those young people, Liam Moran, a first-grader from the Beal School, attended the event wearing the T-shirt he won through a fire safety course.

Other statistics released included:

The number of structure fires listed so far for 2008 is 795, up from 741 in 2007.

Response time under four minutes to a fire in 2008 was 94 percent as opposed to 88 percent in 2007.

The leading cause of structure fires has not yet been completely compiled.