Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh Fire Bureau

Fire Risk Project Named MetroLab's Innovation of the Month

Excerpt from Interview:

Ben Levine: What is the project focused on? What motivated you to address this particular challenge?

Michael Madaio: Municipal fire departments conduct regular fire safety inspections of commercial properties. Unfortunately, due to their capacity, most cities are unable to inspect every property and must make decisions about which properties to prioritize. As seen in some recent high-profile fire incidents, such as the “Ghost Ship” fire in Oakland and the Grenfell Tower fire in London, some high-risk properties fall through the cracks, often due to a lack of inspection capacity or insufficient data sharing across municipal agencies. 

To better inform the prioritization of fire inspections, the Fire Risk Analysis project has developed a predictive model of the likelihood of a fire incident to occur in a commercial property in a given year using historical fire incident data from the Bureau of Fire together with commercial property data from a variety of municipal agencies. That likelihood is converted to a risk score for each commercial property, which has been deployed in an interactive map visualization used by Pittsburgh fire inspectors to assist in their planning and prioritization of inspections. Using these fire risk scores along with fire inspectors’ expert knowledge, we hope to reduce fire risk and improve fire safety in the city of Pittsburgh.

Read the Full Interview at