TN State Fire Marshall: 40 people have died so far this year from a fire-related death
Compared to the rest of the country, Tennessee ranks high on the list for fire-related deaths.
According to the Tennessee State Fire Marshal's Office, 40 people have died so far this year from a fire-related death. That number is on track to maintain the average.
In 2011, the death total was 85, which was down from the 109 people who died from fire-related deaths in 2010. In 2009, the number totaled 94.
In the U.S. Fire Administration's latest data from 2009, Tennessee ranked the sixth highest state in the nation for fire fatalities.
Firefighters say it's an ending they see too often in Tennessee.
"We have very good fire codes here, and they're strictly enforced, but clearly education is the key," said Rural/Metro Chief Jerry Harnish.
He points to one recent apartment fire in West Knox County as an example of residents taking the correct steps in a fire emergency.
On Tuesday, an apparent lightning strike set a four-unit apartment building along Cedarpark Lane on fire.
"As soon as they suspected they had a problem they called 911, instead of trying to wait to see how serious it might be," Harnish said.
"They exited the building immediately and they found a place where they could gather so that we could account for them when we got there."
All sixteen residents were unharmed.
Harnish said every family should have a fire safety plan:
Fire Safety Plan
· Install smoke detectors
· Test smoke detectors regularly
· Establish and practice a fire escape plan with your family
· Create two escape routes in case one is blocked
· Establish a meeting point outside away from the house
· Exit house quickly and account for all family members/residents
· Never re-enter a burning house for any reason