From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Chicago’s summers mark the time when homicides annually reach their bloody peak.

Winter marks a killing season of a different sort. Just as hot summer nights bring death by handguns, bitter-cold winters bring death by fire.

With winters come the use of stoves to heat apartments; the overloading of outdated electric circuits; the crowding for warmth in cramped quarters. Blocked exits become death traps. Failed smoke detectors become silent killers.

Chicago’s sad record on fire safety has not drawn nearly as much attention as the failure to address the problem of street violence. People die from fires in smaller numbers, which likely is a factor.

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David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...