RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Fire Chief Melvin Carter presented a report to the community discussing the number of fatal fires in the City of Richmond so far this year.
Chief Carter also discussed the department’s action plan for preventing fire injuries and deaths.
The City of Richmond has had three fatal fires this year. In 2020, there were two fatal fires as well in 2019. In 2018, Richmond Fire did not experience any fire deaths.
“We only got a quarter through the year and unfortunately lost three lives,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said during the presentation.
Mayor Stoney advised that all families come up with an emergency exit in case of a fire in their home.
Chief Carter said the department is working to reduce fire fatalities and incidents.
“One life lost, is one life lost too many,” Carter said.
Carter said that fatal fires are not just an issue in the Richmond area but across the nation.
“Unfortunately this morning our neighbors to the south of us, Chesterfield County, lost four in a house fire,” Chief Carter said.
While presenting a brief PowerPoint, Chief Carter said in 2021, the city has had 50 working fires. During a working fire, up to 37 people are dispatched, including 28 firefighters.
This year’s fatal fires all focused on the top leading causes of fire: cooking, heat-related, electric, smoking and candles. Other commonalities included location, time of the year and smoke alarm issues.
To prevent fire injuries and deaths, the Richmond Fire Department has been handing out informational pamphlets in neighborhoods and emphasizing the city’s smoke alarm program.