By Ray King

A nearly 60-percent increase in structure fires during the month of April was offset with an equal drop in brush/grass/rubbish fires, according to the monthly report from the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department.

For the month, there were 361 incidents reported by the department, seven more than in March for an increase of 1.98 percent.

The report showed that there were 19 structure fires last month, compared to 12 for the previous month for a 58.33 percent increase. Three of those fires were in Ward 1, one in Ward 2, seven in Ward 3, and 8 in Ward 4.

One of those fires, in Ward 3, resulted in the death of two people.

Brush/grass/rubbish fires declined from 17 in March to seven last month, a decrease of 58.82 percent.

Emergency Medical Responses jumped by 10 from 155 in March to 165 in April, and there were eight fewer vehicle accidents with injuries (19) than in March (27).

Firefighters responded to 28 false alarms in March and also in April, while calls for other services increased from 97 in March to 104 in April.