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Officials: 2012 Had Fewest Civilian Fire Deaths In NYC History

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City has achieved the lowest number of civilian fire deaths in its history, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano announced Wednesday.

The city had 58 fire deaths in 2012. That's four fewer than the previous record low of 62 set in 2010.

1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reports


It also has recorded its fastest average ambulance response time for life-threatening medical emergencies. It's exactly 61/2 minutes -- a second faster than in 2011.

Bloomberg called it "a historic year for public safety.''

"The FDNY has consistently improved fire safety over the past decade and has continued to drive response times to historic lows," he said. "These achievements and the efforts by our firefighters, EMT's and paramedics to save lives – while putting theirs on the line – is the reason fewer New Yorkers died as a result of fire in 2012 than ever before."

In 79 percent of 2012's fatal fires, officials said there was no working smoke detector present.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Sal Cassano
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano - Jan. 2, 2012 (credit: Rich Lamb / WCBS 880)

The top causes of the city's 58 fatal fires last year were accidental. Seventeen were electrical fire, 15 were sparked by smoking, 9 were incendiary and 7 were cooking-related.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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