Officials said New York City experienced 68 fire-related deaths in the last year – the most in the last five years.
Even so, Mayor Bill de Blasio still called it a “record low five-year period.”
“This is the best five-years in the department’s history,” de Blasio told the crowd in front of the FDNY’s Rescue Co. 1 in Hell’s Kitchen. “And that goes back to when records were first kept in 1916 during World War I.”
The numbers were unveiled at an event commemorating the Fire Department’s 150th anniversary.
According to the mayor’s office, the city’s record high number of fire deaths in a year was 310 in 1970.
The number of fire-related deaths in 2014 was only one more than in 2013, and includes the eight New Yorkers who died in March’s explosion in East Harlem.
“Each death is one too many, and we will remain vigilant and work hard to reduce these numbers again next year,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
Yet the explosion – suspected to be caused by a gas leak – and a subsequent awareness campaign resulted in about a 68 percent spike in emergency calls about gas or unknown odors – 43,692 from last year’s 26,024.