STOW (CBS/AP) — No children died in fires in Massachusetts last year, the first time that has happened according to records researched by the state fire marshal’s office, the agency said Friday.
Children and seniors are typically at most risk of dying in fires, Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said in a statement.
“To have no children, no one under the age of 18, die in a fire in Massachusetts is an amazing accomplishment,” he said in a statement.
. @MAFireMarshal Peter J. Ostroskey & @MassFireChiefs President Newbury announced that for the first time on record, no children died in fires in Massachusetts in 2020. This is an amazing accomplishment. Read the full press release: https://t.co/WlM4xcRX2q pic.twitter.com/3z4BH0wBzL
— MA DFS (@MassDFS) January 8, 2021
The office has researched records dating to the 1940s, an agency spokesperson said. In 2019, two children died of fires.
Ostroskey says the Student Awareness of Fire Education Program, known as SAFE, deserves much of the credit by teaching fire safety to children in schools.
Adults are responsible for home fire safety, but the program “has brought key safety information on maintaining smoke alarms, practicing home fire drills, cooking, heating, candle and match and lighter safety home to those adults,” Ostroskey said. “Goodness knows there’s nothing like being nagged by a third-grader to test your smoke alarm.”
Saugus Fire Chief Michael C. Newbury, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, also added, “This milestone speaks to the hard work of firefighter-educators to teach children what to do to save themselves in a fire. We find fewer children hiding under beds or in closets, because they know how to use their home escape plan.”
In all, 39 people died in fires in Massachusetts in 2020, down from 42 in 2019, the agency said.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)