The latest edition of NFPA Journal highlights this statistic, taken from NFPA's new report Catastrophic Multiple-Death Fires. Nearly 115 deaths--16 of which were children under the age of six--were associated with these fires. The report also indicates that an unusually high proportion of these fires were caused by explosions.
"Three of the explosions involved storage properties: a grain elevator, a fireworks storage bunker, and a pipeline near an oil storage tank at an oil well," states the report. "Two others originated in single-family homes, and one occurred at a steel powder manufacturing plant. In the 10 years leading up to 2011, 34 explosions were reported in the catastrophic multiple-death study, resulting in 194 deaths. Most notable of those were the West Virginia mine explosion of 2010 that killed 29, the Texas refinery explosion of 2005 that killed 15, and the Georgia sugar refinery explosion of 2008 that killed 14."
For more information on these fires and the role of smoke detection and suppression equipment, check out the September/October edition of NFPA Journal.