(St. Paul, MN) – Preliminary numbers indicate that 2018 is on pace to become the least deadly for fires in about nine years.

Data released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division shows that 36 people died in fires in 2018, down 47 percent from 2017, which was the deadliest year for fire deaths in Minnesota since 1995.  Final death numbers will be released in the spring, and if the preliminary numbers hold, 2018 will be the least deadly since 2009, when 35 people died in fires.

There have been two fire deaths so far in 2019: one in Brainerd; the other in St. Paul.

State Fire Marshall Bruce West said that while it’s difficult to pinpoint a particular reason for the decrease, he gives credit to the Minnesota fire departments that educate the people in their communities by sharing their knowledge of fire prevention and safety.

The leading cause of fatal fires in 2018 was careless smoking (5 deaths), cooking (3 deaths), and portable heaters (2 deaths).  There were 20 deaths in which the cause of fire is undetermined.

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