UrbaNerd: Where NYC’s Fires Were in 2017

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Alexander Baxevanis

The New York City Fire Department responded to 41,000 fires in calendar year 2017.

 

One night last summer my family and I were driving back to our neighborhood when we saw a thick, black plume of smoke spreading across the sky. It was coming from about two blocks south of our house. The streets were clogged with emergency vehicles, their lights flashing, and sirens sounded as additional equipment rolled in. It seemed like the whole block was on fire. In fact, it was just one house.

The next day the property was tidily boarded up. The impact on the neighborhood was minimal—same as the previous summer, when a fire chewed up a decent part of my neighbor’s back room, or that fall, when my teenage son had to call 911 because our oven caught fire. Two much more serious house fires on surrounding blocks in the previous five years didn’t seem to have much effect either, beyond their impact on the families who lived at those addresses. Those blazes did blanket the neighborhood in smoke and leave charred remains behind, but they were nothing like the Halloween 2009 fire that wiped out 10 stores on our major commercial strip, Bainbridge Avenue, nor the arson fire a few months later that zapped a diner, bank and supermarket.

The point is, fire is not as big a force in the city as it was 40 years ago, but it is still a factor in the life of neighborhoods and families. It can still cause stunning tragedy and mass displacement. It can still shape the trajectory of individual families, and sometimes of blocks or neighborhoods.

OpenData NYC offers an incident-by-incident account of every fire incident in the city over the past several years. Below is a look at which community districts saw the most incidents, and what kinds of incidents caused the most action.

Where were the fires in 2017?
Click on a community district to see how many fire incidents were recorded there.

Where were the most fires in 2017?
Community districts, ranked

Community Board
Neighborhood(s)
Number of Fires
Queens Board 4 Elmhurst/Corona 1295
Manhattan Board 8 Upper East Side 1020
Brooklyn Board 10 Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights 1006
Brooklyn Board 1 Greenpoint/Williamsburg 969
Brooklyn Board 12 Borough Park 960
Manhattan Board 6 Stuyvesant Town/Turtle Bay 940
Manhattan Board 3 Lower East Side/Chinatown 934
Staten Island Board 1 St. George/Stapleton 923
Brooklyn Board 14 Flatbush/Midwood 905
Queens Board 5 Ridgewood/Maspeth 885
Manhattan Board 2 Greenwich Village/Soho 870
Brooklyn Board 4 Bushwick 853
Brooklyn Board 9 South Crown Heights/Lefferts Gardens 833
Bronx Board 4 Highbridge/Concourse 818
Brooklyn Board 11 Bensonhurst 814
Bronx Board 8 Riverdale/Fieldston 794
Manhattan Board 4 Clinton/Chelsea 764
Bronx Board 1 Mott Haven/Melrose 759
Manhattan Board 10 Central Harlem 758
Queens Board 12 Jamaica/Hollis 755
Bronx Board 7 Kingsbridge Heights/Bedford 726
Brooklyn Board 6 Park Slope/Carroll Gardens 726
Bronx Board 12 Williamsbridge/Baychester 714
Manhattan Board 7 Upper West Side 697
Queens Board 1 Astoria 690
Manhattan Board 11 East Harlem 678
Brooklyn Board 8 Crown Heights/Prospect Heights 666
Bronx Board 6 Belmont/East Tremont 658
Bronx Board 10 Throgs Neck/Co-op City 634
Brooklyn Board 7 Sunset Park 634
Staten Island Board 3 Tottenville/Great Kills 634
Staten Island Board 2 South Beach/Willowbrook 620
Manhattan Board 9 Morningside Heights/Hamilton 592
Bronx Board 2 Hunts Point/Longwood 581
Brooklyn Board 15 Sheepshead Bay 579
Queens Board 6 Rego Park/Forest Hills 579
Bronx Board 9 Parkchester/Soundview 572
Brooklyn Board 13 Coney Island 569
Manhattan Board 12 Washington Heights/Inwood 561
Brooklyn Board 18 Flatlands/Canarsie 559
Brooklyn Board 17 East Flatbush 556
Manhattan Board 5 Midtown 548
Queens Board 13 Queens Village 527
Bronx Board 3 Morrisania/Crotona 480
Queens Board 10 South Ozone Park/Howard Beach 453
Queens Board 2 Woodside/Sunnyside 448
Brooklyn Board 2 Fort Greene/Brooklyn Heights 441
Brooklyn Board 5 East New York/Starrett City 430
Manhattan Board 1 Financial District 429
Brooklyn Board 3 Bedford Stuyvesant 428
Queens Board 14 Rockaway/Broad Channel 426
Queens Board 8 Hillcrest/Fresh Meadows 406
Bronx Board 11 Morris Park/Bronxdale 390
Brooklyn Board 16 Brownsville 387
Bronx Board 5 Fordham/University Heights 383
Queens Board 7 Flushing/Whitestone 383
Queens Board 3 Jackson Heights 365
Queens Board 9 Kew Gardens/Woodhaven 353
Queens Board 11 Bayside/Little Neck 325

 

What were the fires in 2017?
Incident types, ranked
(Per the FDNY’s manual, class A multiple dwellings mean buildings housing three or more families in which residency is permanent in nature, and class B multiple dwelling are “occupied transiently.”)

Incident type Number of incidents
Multiple Dwelling ‘A’ – Food on the stove fire 8,849
Private Dwelling Fire 6,856
Demolition Debris or Rubbish Fire 6,529
Multiple Dwelling ‘A’ – Other fire 4,236
Other Commercial Building Fire 2,875
Automobile Fire 1,827
Manhole Fire – Seeping Smoke 1,745
Multiple Dwelling ‘B’ Fire 1,546
Transit System – NonStructural 1,368
Manhole Fire – Other 1,174
Brush Fire 1,169
School Fire 607
Hospital Fire 387
Multiple Dwelling ‘A’ – Compactor fire 372
Store Fire 291
Manhole Fire – Blown Cover 248
Other Transportation Fire 206
Other Public Building Fire 156
Church Fire 134
Abandoned Derelict Vehicle Fire 59
Construction or Demolition Building Fire 51
Untenanted Building Fire 46
Transit System – Structural 36
Factory Fire 35
Theater or TV Studio Fire 25
Undefined Nonstructural Fire 4
Manhole Fire – Extended to Building 2

 

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