abc
QUICK LINKS:

Kitchen Fire Death Toll Spiked in Minn. Last Year

Updated: 06/19/2014 6:29 PM
Created: 06/19/2014 5:14 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
blesavage@wdio.com

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.

The Duluth Fire Department uses its kitchen fire demonstration trailer as part of an event to teach people how to respond to house fires.

Front Page

  • Butternut Man Charged with 1st-Degree Homicide in Toddler's Death

    A Butternut man has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old child. According to the criminal complaint, the man brought the child to the hospital in full respiratory arrest, and the child died the next day. A forensic exam revealed evidence of child abuse.

  • Duluth Man Arrested in Connection With Armed Robbery

    Police say they arrested a 23-year-old Duluth man suspected of robbing another man at knife point on Monday. Police say the suspect has four other convictions in Minnesota from 2011 and 2012. No one was injured, and the suspect is being held at the St. Louis County Jail.

  • Sex Offender Released in Ashland

    Ashland authorities want the public to know about a sex offender who is being released in Ashland on Tuesday. They say Madison committed second-degree sexual assault of a child in 2009. He will be living on West Lake Shore Drive.

  • Homebrew and Brats Mix For Grand Rapids Oktoberfest Event

    Beer and brats are a classic Oktoberfest meal, and it gets even better when you mix them. An event in Grand Rapids this weekend will showcase brats made with homebrew, and it all supports the Community Foundation.

  • Crews Taking Down 61-Year-Old Duluth TV Tower

    Work crews are taking down one of the oldest towers on Duluth's Observation Hill and began to lower heavy pieces of steel on Tuesday.

 
Advertisement