GLEN ALLEN, Va. — On average, one person has died in a Virginia fire every four days so far this year, according to the Virginia Department of Fire Programs. The 39 reported fatalities represent a 40 percent increase over this same time in 2017.
“Most fatal fires in Virginia were caused by human factors. Careless smoking and improperly discarded smoking materials remain the leading cause of fatal fires in Virginia for 2018,” a spokesperson said. “Other identified causes include portable heating equipment, unattended cooking and electrical issues.”
The median age of the Virginia fire victims is 70 years old and many victims had mobility issues, the spokesperson added.
“The best way to fight fires is to prevent them from ever starting,” Chief Michael Reilly, Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, said. “We need to be mindful of the fire risks within our homes. Together we can prevent unnecessary loss of life and property due to fire by having working smoke alarms, practicing home escape plans and practicing fire prevention efforts every day.”