STOW — The State Fire Marshal's Office marked a significant milestone on Tuesday — it's been two years since the last child died in a fire in Massachusetts.
“On January 8, 2021, I announced that for the first time on record, there had been zero child fire deaths in a calendar year," State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said in a news release. "Today marks a new milestone. It has been two whole years since a child has died in a fire in Massachusetts.”
The last fatal fire in Massachusetts involving children occurred in Pittsfield in March 2019, when two children and an adult were killed in a house fire on Lakewood Circle in Pittsfield.
“I attribute this record-breaking milestone to the 26 years of the Student Awareness of Fire Education Program (S.AF.E.). Firefighters and classroom teachers have raised a fire safe generation of children by teaching key fire safety lessons in an age-appropriate manner that fits with the state’s curriculum frameworks,” Ostroskey said.
“The collaboration between firefighter-educators and classroom teachers has made fire safety accessible to our youngsters who brought these messages home to their families," added Chief Michael Newbury, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts
So far this year, there have been 12 fire deaths and most of the victims were people over 65. “Regardless of your age, make sure you have working smoke alarms that are less than 10 years old on every level of your home and practice your home escape plan,” Ostroskey said.
“You may only have one to three minutes to escape a typical house fire before being overcome by toxic gases and extreme heat.”