No children died in fires in Massachusetts in 2020, for the first time in recorded history

“To have no children, no one under the age of 18, die in a fire in Massachusetts is an amazing accomplishment."

Boston firefighters rescued a woman and two children from from a fire in the South End of Boston last month.
Boston firefighters rescued a woman and two children from from a fire in the South End of Boston last month. –Boston Fire Department

STOW, Mass. (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.

The office has researched records dating to the 1940s, an agency spokesperson said.

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.

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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.”

In all, 39 people died in fires in Massachusetts in 2020, down from 42 in 2019, the agency said.

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