2022 Interior Deaths

By Bill Carey
7 January 2023

Note: Many readers have asked about the statement regarding Search and the two deaths in Pennsylvania. This proves a point I have made each year about how muddy our fatality data is. In the case of the two deaths in Pennsylvania, the USFA has listed their activity type as Advancing Hoselines. News reports stated possible occupants inside and even the USFA narrative states “possible entrapment.” However, until more specific details are released or unless the USFA changes the activity type, they are not listed under Search.

This is not the first time that activity type has been questionable:
Update to 2019 USFA Search & Rescue
That One POV Death of 2015
Our Muddy Fatality Data

Thank you for reading. Bill, 8 January 2023

2022 ended with a total, as of 26 December, of 96 on-duty deaths as defined and recorded by the United States Fire Administration (USFA)[1]. Of those 96, nine (9%) were interior fatalities.

For providing specific data, I define interior deaths as those on the fireground that are traumatic versus those that are medical in the same way the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program differentiates the two[2]. Since the majority of discussion and writing about interior deaths[3] focus on the specific interior and up close work (advancing hoselines, searching for occupants, and vertical ventilation) I may include deaths where the victim was working on the ground outside of the structure but close enough to have been killed in a collapse or explosion.

The interior data presented lists the fatalities by their USFA Activity Type (Advancing Hoselines, excluding Wildland; Search and Rescue; and Ventilation) but only those as noted in the introduction. Based on the details of each fatality from the time of the incident and including investigation reports. I also include data on structure type, occupancy, the victim’s company/assignment, and the cause and nature of death. These add to a better understanding of the data.

In 2022 there was no firefighter line of duty deaths involving a search for occupants, the first time since 2018 that there were no deaths related to this activity. In 2022 there was also no line of duty deaths involving vertical ventilation, continuing a trend of no fatalities while performing roof ventilation since 2012. All nine interior deaths in 2022 involved Advancing Hoselines.

There were two multiple fatality incidents in 2022. The first occurred on 24 January in Baltimore, Maryland involving three firefighters caught in a collapse. The second involved two firefighters in West Penn Township, Pennsylvania on 7 December who became trapped while searching for occupants. 2019 is the most recent year where the fire service did not have interior multiple fatality incidents.

Advancing Hoselines
6 January : Los Angeles County, CA (incident audio)
13 January: St. Louis, MO
24 January: Baltimore, MD | Baltimore, MD | Baltimore, MD (incident audio)
24 April: New York, NY
18 June: Philadelphia, PA (incident audio Part 1 | Part 2)
7 December: West Penn Township, PA | West Penn Township, PA (incident audio)


Eight of the nine deaths involved residential structures. The remaining one involved a mixed-use occupancy, a restaurant with apartments on two upper floors. The multiple fatality incidents each involved residential structures.

Of the residential structures, three deaths involved single-family dwellings. One involved a duplex. Four deaths were inside abandoned structures. Three of those involved a rowhome and the fourth a two-story dwelling.

Victim Department and Rank

Seven of the nine firefighters in this data group were from career departments. The remaining two were from volunteer departments. Of their departments, four are considered urban, one suburban, and one is rural. Six of the victims were of the rank of Firefighter. Two were Lieutenants and one was an Assistant Chief.

Victim Company and Due

Four of the nine fatalities were from an Engine Company. Three were from a Truck Company (a definition that includes a Quint assigned and/or operating as a Truck). Two others are unknown at this time. There was no line of duty deaths involving firefighters from Rescue and Squad Companies.

Five fatalities were firefighters that were on the first-due companies. Two were on the second-due companies but had arrived first. The remaining two were elsewhere on the initial alarm.

Cause and Nature of Death

Six of the nine firefighters killed in 2022 were killed in structural collapses. The USFA lists one firefighter’s cause of death as Unknown, but incident details state the firefighter was killed in a collapse. All six involved interior collapses. Four involved floor collapses, one involved a ceiling collapse, and one involved a roof collapse. There were no firefighter deaths involving a collapse into a basement.

Two firefighters were caught or trapped due to fire behavior.

Trauma was the majority nature of death for the victims in 2022.


The number of interior line of duty deaths increased by one compared to last year, but it is the highest to date in this gathering of interior data. The number of multiple fatality incidents also increased by one. Residential structures are the majority structure type and collapse is the majority cause of death. Abandoned building fires claimed four of the six firefighters in this data, however, it has been more than five years since a firefighter died inside an abandoned building. There were no firefighter deaths due to burns, as of this date, a trend that has continued to drop over several years. No firefighters died while specifically searching for occupants or while performing ventilation. Advancing hoselines unsurprisingly continue to be the leading activity type for this data group.

The data in this article is subject to updates based in updated from the USFA and investigation reports.


  1. (United States Fire Administration, 2022, December 26). Summary Incident Report. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from https://apps.usfa.fema.gov/firefighter-fatalities/fatalityData/incidentDataReport?lastName=&deathYear=2022&city=&state.id=&state=%5Bid%3A%5D&searchAgainAction=index&basicSearch=Search&page=1&max=10&offset=0
  2. (Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, n.d.) Fatality Types. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/abouttheprogram/abouttheprogram.html
  3. (Current Inside Numbers, n.d.) Inside Numbers 2022. Data Not Drama. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from https://data-not-drama.com/inside-numbers/inside-numbers-2022/

Photograph courtesy of Unsplash.

Published by Data Not Drama

Data Not Drama is writings that provide a point of critical thought about firefighter fatality data and education, line of duty deaths, and risk. The main focus is to encourage less risk aversion and better knowledge on the subject of firefighter fatalities in firefighters, fire departments, and fire service organizations.

2 thoughts on “2022 Interior Deaths

  1. Hi Bill,

    It was pointed out to me that you may have contradicted yourself accidentally. In one spot you say there were no LODD’s while performing a search but then you have the West Penn Township LODD in there where they were searching for occupants. Still a great article though. I especially like the vertical ventilation stats.


  2. Thank you so much! Data is well formed into actionable segments.

    The unspoken issues may be that we need to focus upon health, Fittness, Med evals and vehicle operations.


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