Updated: 06/19/2014 6:29 PM
Created: 06/19/2014 5:14 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
Six people died in kitchen-related fires across the state in 2013, and now, Duluth firefighters are advising people to be safe while cooking.
Duluth Fire Marshal Marnie Grondahl said while it is unusual for people to die from unattended cooking accidents in Duluth, it is still one of the main causes of fires in the city.
"It's typically unattended cooking that’s probably the leading cause of [fires]," Grondahl said. "It's really one of the most preventable kinds of fires you can have."
The six deaths in 2013 were more than the state has seen in the last seven years combined. It brought unattended cooking to a tie with careless smoking as the leading causes of fire-related deaths in the state.
Grondahl said she's not sure what caused the spike but that one of the most dangerous situations the fire department sees is when people forget they are cooking and walk away from the oven or stove.
"Set a timer... something to remind yourself that you have something cooking," Grondahl said. "Take a hotpad with you into the other room … but it's better if you're cooking anything on the stove top to actually stay in the kitchen, and if it's in the oven, then the timer or oven mit works really well."
If a fire does break out in the kitchen, Grondahl said one of the most important things to do is eliminate the fire's oxygen intake to avoid it spreading.
"If you do have a fire on your stove top and it's a grease fire, you never ever want to throw water on a grease fire," she said. "The best thing to do for a fire that's on the stove top is to slide a lid over the top, and turn the burner off and just let it cool down.
It's a similar story for microwaves and stoves, she said.
"The easiest way to put out a microwave fire if you see something burning in there is to shut it off and it will die down-- same with the oven," Grondahl said.
In an effort to help Northlanders avoid kitchen fires, Grondahl said the Duluth Fire Department plans to use its kitchen fire demonstration trailer to show just how easily fires can break out during multiple events this summer.
There were 6,330 structure fires last year in Minnesota and 44 fire deaths. The top three causes of structure fires were cooking (49 percent), heating (9 percent) and electrical disturbances (6 percent), according to the preliminary Fire in Minnesota report. The final draft of the report will be released later this year.
Wisconsin Makes Minnesota Offer on Tax Reciprocity
The neighboring states have been unable to reach a deal since a 40-year agreement expired in 2009. An agreement would simplify income taxes for the roughly 80,000 who live in one state and work in the other.
Minn. DNR Increases Target Wolf Harvest
The Minnesota DNR is increasing the target harvest for this fall's wolf hunt from 250 to 280. The DNR says the latest population survey estimates that there were 2,423 wolves living in Minnesota this past winter, which is 212 more animals than estimated the previous winter.
Update: Teen Killed in Douglas Co. Crash
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says a Lake Nebagamon teenager was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Wednesday afternoon. 15-year-old Seth N. Stariah, a passenger in one of the vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene.
U of M Reaches Milestone with Ash River Neutrino Detector
The University of Minnesota is celebrating a milestone in creating an experimental particle detector that it says could eventually yield important information about the beginning of the universe.
Missing Employee Found at Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Authorities have located 76-year-old Adrienne De Vries at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. De Vries is an employee of the park, and lost her way when walking down a trail. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department says she was transported to Ely Hospital to get checked as a precautionary.