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State Reports Fewer Fire Deaths in 2013

Created: 02/03/2014 10:25 AM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- State officials are reporting a drop in fire related deaths in 2013.

The Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshall Division, reports 43 fatalities in 2013, down from both 50 in 2012, and 56 in 2011.

Officials say work remains.

“The only acceptable number of fire deaths is zero,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said. “While we are encouraged the number of fatalities is down, we all must work together to make sure every Minnesotan understands how to prevent fires and how to escape them.”

The fewest number of fire deaths in the state were in 2009 at 35.  The most came in 1976 with 134.

The numbers for 2013 aren't final, as hospital burn units have time to report any changes with patient health.

The start of 2014 has seen five fire fatalities to date.

The state offers these safety tips:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Replace batteries at least once a year. 
  • Use flameless candles instead of real ones. 
  • Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended.
  • Keep flammable materials at least 18 inches away from any open flame. Watch for commonly used materials like oven mitts, curtains, towels and clothing.
  • Have a safe-escape plan for every building you visit, even your own home.
  • Consider protecting your home or business with fire sprinklers.