Maine saw a downturn in fire-related deaths in 2007. As the year came to a close, the state had recorded 11 fire deaths, which could beat the previous all-time record low of 12 fire deaths in 1995.
But the number could grow depending on the state medical examiner’s determination of cause of death in a car wreck that took two lives early on Christmas Day, McCausland said.
The car burst into flames in Hollis, and it remained to be seen whether the two victims died from the impact or from the ensuing fire, McCausland said. So the deaths could be recorded as either highway fatalities or fire deaths, he said.
Fire Marshal John Dean said there was no single initiative that could be credited for the lower number of fire deaths. He credited stronger building codes, local fire departments’ fire prevention efforts and smoke detectors.
“That simple inexpensive device has saved an incredible number of lives in recent decades,” McCausland said.
On the highways, 2007 was an average year for fatalities, McCausland said.
The unofficial tally at year’s end was 184. The record low was 166 in 1982; the largest number of highway death was 276 recorded in 1970, McCausland.
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