TOPEKA (KSNT)- The Topeka Fire Department released its yearly numbers on Monday to the public for the first time in several years.
Fire Chief Randy Phillips said the department is releasing the report because they want to be transparent with the community, and allow people to know what their taxpayers dollars are going towards.
Compared to 2021, TFD saw a 29 percent increase in structure fires in 2022. Last year, they responded to 23,762 calls. More than 1,200 of those calls were related to fires. Of those calls, 346 were structure fires in 2022, while 195 were house fires. However, Chief Phillips said vacant house fires aren’t as much of an issue as people might think.
“Comparing the ’21 numbers to the ’22 numbers, we really have not seen much of an increase at all in working fires in vacant structures,” Chief Phillips said. “I think there’s just more of a community focus on the issue of vacant structures currently in the city. And that’s just one piece of the city’s overall commitment towards changing the culture of property maintenance.”
Chief Phillips said the goal for the future is to do everything the department can to limit the possibility of injuries and deaths.