Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)By Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s unprecedented in the 160-year history of the St. Louis Fire Department — the department recorded exactly one fire death in the city during all of 2017.

“Which is unheard of in a city our size and a city that has as many fire calls as we do,” said city Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson. “That’s a testament to our education, our prevention programs, and even more so in regards to the community assistance programs that we have with our smoke detector programs.”

He said it’s easy to see the difference that having more homes with smoke detectors is making.

“We’ve gotten the word out and people are starting to pay attention,” Jenkerson said. “Back in the early 1970s, people would be inside calling for help. Now they’re outside calling for help because of these smoke detectors. And we’re going to continue to push it.”

He said after last year, it’s not an unrealistic goal to have zero fire deaths in the city over a full calendar year.

Prior to 2017, the yearly average had been 12-15 deaths as a result of fire.

That was knocked down to 6 in 2016 before the new record was set last year.

St. Louis firefighters also took the opportunity Wednesday to show off several new pieces of fire apparatus that have been purchased as a result of Prop F’s passage in April 2016.

The no-tax-increase general obligation bond raised a total of $25 million, of which the fire department received nearly $15 million.

Jenkerson said that allowed them to purchase a wide range of new vehicles, including a pair of rescue squads, a 125-foot-long hook-and-ladder, an aerial platform, and three pumpers.

“None of this happens without (Prop F),” he explained.

Leftover funds have also been used to replace the roof of the fire headquarters building, which also has new generators.

“This money was put to a good use,” Jenkerson said.


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