National Fire Sprinkler Association, Common Voices and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Responds to Fatal Fires with Children


Linthicum Heights, MD, Jan. 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Recent home fires in New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kansas have yielded tragic headlines with fire fatalities that include children. 

The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) utilizes media-reported child fire fatalities that are captured by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) Home Fire Fatalities in the News ( to track home fire fatalities. 232 of the 2,161 fatalities in 2023 were children. 

USFA reports 20 children as victims of fatal fires since January 1, 2024, with the total number of fatalities year to date at 75. These fires occurred in apartments, townhomes, single family residences and condominiums. Although the residences varied, one thing did not; none were equipped with fire sprinklers.


Over 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home. The single most effective way to prevent fire-related deaths is the installation of residential fire sprinklers. Residential sprinklers can control the fire, allowing occupants time to escape and time for the fire department to respond. Fire Sprinklers Buy Time…Time Buys Life. 

Fire burns six times faster today than ever before, regardless of the age of the home. Families typically have less than three minutes to safely escape. Fire sprinklers have been required in new homes since 2009 in the International Residential Code (IRC), the model code that should have been adopted by every state and local government. Only the states of California and Maryland and the District of Columbia require new homes to be protected with smoke alarms and automatic fire sprinklers. All other states have deleted the requirements for residential fire sprinklers in new homes, townhomes, and manufactured housing, against the advice of fire and life-safety experts. 

Residential properties burn faster due to modern furnishings, plastic contents, and open construction. Today’s homes have more content than ever before, and there are no regulations on home furnishing or items allowed to be shipped to homes. These fires produce smoke that is both toxic and deadly. A fire sprinkler system is the ONLY thing that can stop a fire and deadly smoke from spreading. 

“We can do better, and we can do more,” explains NFSA President Shane Ray. “Losing children in fires underscores the importance of fire protection, and there is no better technology to control a fire than fire sprinklers. It is so sad to think that these fires will continue to happen because all the states where these fires have occurred have conscientiously removed the provision for fire sprinklers in all the homes being built or manufactured today.”

“Firefighters across America put their lives on the line to protect families and communities,” adds National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Chief Executive Officer Victor Stagnaro. “As a former Fire Chief, it concerns me to see the devastating impact of fire on Americans, and I remind everyone of the risks that are posed to firefighters daily. On top of the unbearable loss for the residents and communities impacted, there is an incredible toll on firefighters too. It is too hard to get over the sights and smells of responding to tragedies like these. There is a physical and mental toll in addition to the toxic environment that firefighters are exposed to, which causes cancer at an alarming rate. This risk and loss could easily be mitigated if the law required adequate fire protection in these buildings, especially fire sprinkler systems.”

“Common Voices is proud to partner with NFSA, NFFF (National Fallen Firefighters Foundation), and the USFA in both the tracking of these fatal fires and also with education to prevent the next one,” explains Jenna Pritchett, Common Voices Executive Director. “Our advocates have all been directly affected by fire – losing loved ones or being a burn survivor themselves, and they are horrified at current statistics. Many of our advocates are mothers who have lost children, and it is heartbreaking to watch the impact it has on the rest of their lives.”

About the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA): NFSA was founded in 1905 and wants to create a more fire safe world and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry. This industry manufactures, designs, supplies, installs, inspects, and services the world’s most effective system in saving lives and property from uncontrolled structural fires. 

NFSA is a proud partner with USFA as the agency leads efforts to unite fire service organizations, associations, and leaders as “one fire service voice” — calling attention to key areas that can reduce fire deaths in America. For more information on this initiative visit .

For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit for the latest material, statistics, and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders to fulfill the vision of a safer world.

For more details about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Life Safety Initiatives, please visit was created by Congress to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, non-profit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers.

About Common Voices: Common Voices ( is an advocates’ coalition of members who have all been directly affected by fire. By bringing their voices together, they hope to educate others regarding fire and its devastating impact. Their mission is to create a fire-safe America by sharing their stories, creating resources that educate and sharing fire statistics.

CONTACT: Vickie Pritchett National Fire Sprinkler Association 615-533-0305 [email protected] 

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