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Fewer fire deaths reported in 2013

Tuesday, April 22, 2014    

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NINETEEN people, including five children, were victims of fire-related deaths last year, according to information provided by the fire services in the 2013 Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

It was, however a decline from the 23 reported fire deaths in 2012, although the number of children receiving injuries tripled to nine.

Meanwhile, there were 70 fire-related injuries, 32 of which were in the Corporate Area. Males accounted for 84 per cent of the deaths, and 79 per cent of the injuries last year.

The data showed that the largest number of fires occurred in parishes with high urban population, namely St Catherine, Kingston and St Andrew, Clarendon and St James. Most fires were reported in St Catherine, which registered a 15.6 per cent increase to 2,697 fires, followed by Kingston and St Andrew with 2,476, which was 44 fewer than the previous year.

The Jamaica Fire Brigade received 11,834 genuine calls last year, a one per cent decline from 2012.

The fire brigade reported that bush fires have been on an upward trend in recent years. The figures showed that 88 per cent of the fires were non-structural, with bush fires accounting for 66 per cent.

"Nonetheless, the 1,000 residential fires reported damaged personal property rendering 1,830 homeless," the report stated.

The Jamaica Observer understands that a large proportion of the persons made homeless by fires reside in West Kingston, where Member of Parliament Desmond McKenzie has reported that more than 500 people were still homeless from fires in 2012/13.

According to the fire brigade, about 600 or approximately one-third of those made homeless by fires last year, were children. The figure, however, was a 24 per cent decline, compared to 2012.

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