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

  • 6 from Minnesota Charged with Trying to Join Islamic State

    Authorities in Minnesota have charged six men they say attempted to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group. A criminal complaint unsealed Monday charges the men with conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

  • Former Death Row Inmate Shares Experiences During UMD Panel

    Nathson Fields, a Illinois man who spent a dozen years on death row, shared his story as part of a Death Penalty panel discussion at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Monday. 

  • Professional Team to Assist Proctor in Future Plan

    The city of Proctor will celebrate a big anniversary later this year, but rather than looking back on it's 120 years, the community is looking to the future with the help of a professional team...

  • Duluth Police Urge Caution as 'Nerf Wars' Heat Up

    A popular childhood toy is popping up again around local high schools, and it's causing quite the stir. The ever-growing "Nerf War" is taking the Northland by storm, and Duluth Police are noticing.

  • Tyler Joseph Bizal, 21, faces a second-degree assault charge after a stabbing in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood last Thursday. Assault Charge Filed in Duluth Stabbing

    Prosecutors have filed an assault charge against the suspect in a stabbing in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood last week. A criminal complaint alleges that 21-year-old Tyler Joseph Bizal stabbed 45-year-old Deland Christopher Johnson multiple times in the torso.

 
Advertisement