Durham has fewer fires, more damage in 2012

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 03:56 PM

The number of fires in Durham fell about 5 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, but property damage was up, according to figures the Durham Fire Department released this week.
The total number of fires in the city fell from 945 in 2011 to 900 last year. Fire-related property damage rose more than $600,000 – from $10,051,560 in 2011 to $10,686,446 last year.
Part of that increase is due to a major fire in September at Springfield Apartments on University Drive that damaged 18 units in one apartment building, according to fire officials.
“The rise in fire loss can be attributed to the larger fires the department responded to during the year” such as the one at Springfield, Dan Curia, interim chief of the Durham Fire Department, said.
“Overall, the number of fires in Durham declined when comparing 2012 to 2011,” Curia said. “Although the decline was not as great as desired, the Fire Department hopes to continue the trend through proactive community canvassing to provide fire safety tips and to distribute and install smoke detectors.”
Curia also said the department will get more firefighters this year.
“The department will increase its staffing on fire units by 17 positions, which will allow the department to greatly increase its ability to rapidly attack and suppress fires,” he said. “These firefighters, who have been approved by the city during the 2012-2013 budget year, are currently in training and will increase operational staffing in June 2013.”
Curia said the new firefighters will be assigned to different areas of the city, mainly to boost staffing outside the downtown area.