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DAYTON — Last year saw the most deadly fires and the most number of injuries reported in years, said the Dayton Fire Department.
Dayton firefighters work around the clock, protecting lives when fires strike. It’s a dangerous job, and sometimes those fires can be deadly.
News Center 7’s I-Team is investigating staffing shortages at area fire departments and how it can impact public safety. For more details, tune in Thursday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m.
In 2018, there were five fatal fires in the city.
On Feb. 3, 2018, a fire broke out at the Asbury Apartments on McDaniel Street, killing 47-year-old Eric Little.
Just a few weeks later, on Feb. 22, 2018, a fire was ignited at a home on Terry Street, a scene that alarmed one neighbor.
“I’d seen flames coming so, I instantly went into panic mode.”
Firefighters rescued a man from the roof, but his mother, 50-year-old Julie Dennis, was trapped inside. She died days later from her injuries.
Later it was learned her son, James Dennis, was accused of lighting a couch on fire, knowing that his mother and brother were inside.
While the department handled more fatal fires than in previous years, there were fewer structure fires and arson cases last year.
There were 312 structure fires, that’s down 14 percent from 2017. It’s the fewest in at least seven years.
In 2018, there were 107 confirmed arson cases, a 15 percent drop from 2017.
While fire totals are down, injuries were up last year, with 33 people hurt in fires.
That figure includes a home explosion on George Street in November.
Utilities were cut off to the property when a man apparently tried to light a pilot light. The man spent 34 days in the hospital. He lost an ear and suffered third- and fourth-degree burns from the blast.
The fire department said the fires also had lower dollar losses in 2018, with $2.8 million reported.