Burn Community Raising Awareness as Home-Fire Deaths Hit A 14-Year High

Written on October 19, 2022

Burn Survivors Share Consequences of Home-Fires and Urge for Passage of Massachusetts Bill HB2417

Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 19, 2022 — Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is calling on the community to join in raising awareness and concern amid National Fire Prevention Week for the recent statistic reported out by the National Fire Protection Association indicating that U.S.-related home fire deaths hit a 14-year high in 2021. The report underscores a concerning trend, marking the critical importance of fire prevention and safety and calling for increased awareness. While the number of fire deaths has decreased, fires today burn faster and hotter than older homes because of the use of light-weighted wood and open floor plans, and in many cases, you have less than 3-minutes for loved ones to escape fire from home. 

The burn community understands the lifelong impact of living with burn injuries from home fires. Burn Survivors like Robert Feeney, of East Wareham, Massachusetts, injured as a result of the 2003 Station Nightclub Fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, are sharing their stories with the recent news of the increase in deaths and support of the bill currently in the MA Senate.

“Since the fire, I’ve become an advocate for fire sprinkler safety, not only in nightclubs or other commercial buildings but also in residential housing. For the past eight years, I have served in fire service and am currently a Captain with the Onset Fire Department in East Wareham, Massachusetts, and throughout my advocacy for fire sprinklers and my career in fire service, the one thing that I have learned about fire sprinklers, is they buy time, and that time saves lives. The fire sprinkler bill in Massachusetts is long overdue along with many aspects of the fire and building codes—we need to catch up to other states that have already adopted this code.” - Robert Feeney

There are many initiatives to make our homes safer. HB2417, supported by  Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, will help with mitigating the risk to home occupants and allow localities to maximize their limited fire resources by requiring sprinklers in new homes. This bill is currently before the Massachusetts Senate after passing through from the House in August 2022. The bill has received community-wide support from burn survivors, community organizations, and healthcare officials, including Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

HB2417 allows Massachusetts municipalities to require residential sprinklers in new homes to protect residents from fire-caused deaths or injury, with the bill having no impact on the Commonwealth’s budget. Jeffrey Schneider, MD, Medical Director of the Burn and Trauma Rehabilitation Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, shares: 

“As clinicians and researchers, we see the devastating impact of burn injuries on our patients and their loved ones each day. These injuries often have life-long effects that greatly impact the quality of life of burn survivors. We owe them and their families to find any way to prevent others from suffering from burn injuries.” 

Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition are asking for your support—to prevent home-fire-related deaths and to help prevent the lifelong effects a burn injury can have on human life.  


About Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

In the U.S., 40,000 people are hospitalized with burn injuries each year. Burn survivors and their loved ones face a lifelong journey of physical, emotional, and social recovery. Connecting with others who have walked a similar path is essential to optimal recovery and social reintegration. Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading national non-profit dedicated to empowering burn survivors and their families at all points of recovery. Since 1977, Phoenix Society has worked with survivors, families, healthcare professionals, and first responders to support burn recovery, improve the quality of burn care, and prevent burn injuries. For more information, visitwww.phoenix-society.org.


Media Contact: Amber Wilcox, Marketing Lead

Contact: 616.208.1146  | Awilcox@phoenix-society.org