Just as many people died in fires in La. in 2019 as year prior

*Note: This is a stock photo (Source: pexels.com)
*Note: This is a stock photo (Source: pexels.com)
Updated: Jan. 24, 2020 at 2:44 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (LAOSFM) has released its 2019 productivity stats, which show more investigative fire calls, completed projects, and new construction project reviews than in 2018. Unfortunately, the stats also show just as many people died in fires in the state as in 2018.

“Our team of professionals at the State Fire Marshal’s Office continues to perform at a high level, exceeding expectations across the board, and the people of Louisiana are reaping the benefits,” said State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning.

According to the report, in 2019, LAOSFM deputies were called out to investigate nearly 775 fires compared to 750 the prior year. Of those fires, nearly 300 were classified as incendiary, which is on par with 2018′s numbers. The agency says its arrest rate remains around 40% for the third year now, which it says it well above the national average.

The report also shows there were just as many lives lost in house fires as in 2018. Roughly 75 people were killed in fires in the state in 2019. The agency does say, however, that the fatality count stayed relatively low until December. The report says about 20 of those cases involved buildings with smoke alarms, with half confirmed to be working at the time of the fires.

LAOSFM also says it conducted a growing number of inspections, totaling more than 75,000 reviews of things such as new commercial buildings, fireworks stands, and manufactured homes.

The agency’s Plan Review division also saw a steady number of projects submitted in 2019, at more than 18,000, with a slightly less estimated value amounting to $9.8 million.

LAOSFM also licensed almost 15,000 individuals and firms during 2019, bringing in about $2.3 million, according to the report. The licenses apply to many industries, including life safety and property protection businesses, amusement ride operators, and boiler systems.

“The State Fire Marshal’s Office is doing its part to protect life and property from the hazards of fire and explosion, abate arson, and ensure safety in the constructed environment. We look forward to continuing this good work into 2020 and hope the people of Louisiana pitch in with their own fire safety awareness and prevention efforts,” Browning said.

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