The Chattanooga Fire Department has determined that there were no fire-related deaths in Chattanooga in 2012.

Chattanooga fire fatalities by year
  • 2002: 8
  • 2003: 6
  • 2004: 9
  • 2005: 7
  • 2006: 4
  • 2007: 1
  • 2008: 1
  • 2009: 1
  • 2010: 3
  • 2011: 8

“We always strive to prevent all fire fatalities in Chattanooga,” Fire Chief Randy Parker said in a prepared statement. “But we’re usually disappointed. This is obviously good news for us and the city we serve.”

Parker said that department’s fire-prevention efforts, which are headed by Fire Marshal James Whitmire, are part of the reason for the success.

“Our Fire Prevention Bureau coordinates a lot of excellent public education events throughout the year, and I know that makes a big difference. But I also know there’s a certain amount of luck involved,” he said.

Chattanooga firefighters are usually able to get most fires out quickly, but the majority of fire fatalities occur before they get to the scene, officials said. The toxic smoke and intense heat of a fire kills quickly. So it’s up to individuals to rescue themselves in those first few critical minutes when a fire breaks out. Officials said having working fire alarms on every level of the home is the best way to prevent this kind of death or injury.