Heart attack leads the list of firefighter fatalities once again

Heart attack leads the list of firefighter fatalities once again

Heart attack was the top cause of reported firefighter deaths in 1987, killing almost half of those who died while on duty, according to a National Fire Protection Association study.

But while the rate of firefighter deaths brought on by heart attack was down for firefighters over 40, five victims were under age 35 and two were under age 20.

Altogether, the NFPA report cites 124 firefighter deaths last year. Of those, 72 were volunteer firefighters, and 52 were career firefighters. Other causes of firefighter deaths included internal trauma, asphyxiation, and crushing.

The NFPA report included a special section on firefighters struck by vehicles for the years 1978-1987. During that time, 31 firefighters were killed by private vehicles or fire department apparatus. In seven of those incidents, the drivers were intoxicated.

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