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Chicago Fire Deaths Reached Record Low In 2013

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Fire deaths in Chicago were at an all-time low last year.

Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said 16 people died in fires in 2013, the lowest annual total ever recorded in the city. Even so, he said that was 16 deaths too many.

"If working smoke detectors had been in place in every building, the number of deaths in 2013 could have been much, much lower; for 12 of these buildings did not have smoke detectors," he said.

Santiago credited increased use of smoke alarms for the drop in fire deaths, as well as changes in firefighting tactics.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the highest number of fire deaths in recent times was 206 in 1963.

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