"Die in a Fire" Is Kind of an Empty Threat Now

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Good news for all of those drug-addled New Yorkers who are more likely to get murdered: at least they don't have to worry about burning to death in a fire! The FDNY says that for the second year in a row, the city is on track to set a record low for fire fatalities. Which means New Yorkers finally have the go-ahead to trade their flame-retardant blankets for bulletproof vests.

The New York Post says the city's seen only 56 fire-related fatalities this year, down 18 percent from the same period in 2009. The Post says 2009 was another record low year, with just 73 fire-related deaths.

Fire commissioner Sal Cassano told the Post that the FDNY credits the drop with improved fire-safety education and quicker response times. Five years ago, it took firefighters an average of four-and-a-half minutes to respond, but the Post says response times have dropped by more than half a minute since then.

The paper also reports that while fire-related deaths have declined, the number of fires remains consistent. "Through last month," the Post says, "the FDNY counted 24,064 structural fires -- a slight increase over 23,992 such fires counted in the same period in 2009."

[shernandez@villagevoice.com]

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