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January 01, 2016

Commissioner: Fire fatalities hit ten-year low in 2015

Sawyer rings in 2016 by touting success of department

Fires Statistics
Philadelphia Fire Department Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Firefighters battle a of fire Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer sent out a series of tweets shortly after 2016 began touting the success of his department in the year that's ended.

According to Sawyer, citizen fire injuries dropped 31 percent in 2015, the lowest number in recorded history.

In addition, there were 63 percent less fire fatalities than in 2014. The number of fire deaths this past year, 12, is the lowest in 10 years, Sawyer says.

The commissioner also tweeted that more than 10,000 lithium battery smoke alarms and 45 carbon monoxide alarms were installed in more than 4,000 homes in the city, and that fire crews responded to more incidents in 2015 than in 2014.

The last statistic comes following a report earlier in December from City Controller Alan Butkovitz that said the number of fires that weren't responded to within the national standard of 5 minutes and 20 seconds was increasing.

The report does not fault the fire department, however. Instead, it blames outgoing Mayor Michael Nutter's brownout policy, which temporarily closes three fire companies a day to save money.

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