Minnesota records highest fire fatalities in 27 years

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After 27 years, Minnesota records highest fire fatalities in 2022. There were 70 deaths recorded in 2022, which is just under the 84 deaths recorded in 1995.

John Otis, the Deputy Chief of Life Safety in Duluth said most residential fires happen in the kitchen. However, the most common causes of fatal fires in the Duluth area tend to be careless smoking. “People that fall asleep or get distracted while they’re smoking.” Otis said. “Oftentimes at night there could be an alcohol or drug component related to that. But oftentimes it’s when people are trying to relax, wind down things like that.”

Otis said that one of the many reasons fatal fires happen is from lack of fire prevention, or poor planning. “The most common thing that we see is lack of smoke alarms. Smoke detectors are the cheapest, easiest way to become alerted in a fire. If you don’t have that, your chances of survival significantly decrease.” Otis said. “So making sure that you have a working smoke detector is the number one thing that you can prevent a fatal fire in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors can help, maybe a fire is not producing a lot of smoke, but it’s producing a lot of heat that may detect an increase in carbon monoxide.”

Although when it comes to making a fire escape plan Otis recommends practicing it regularly along with checking smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors. “Think about how you are going to react in an emergency and then plan that plan around your abilities.” Otis said. “If you require glasses or contact lenses, make sure that there’s glasses next to your bed. If you have trouble hearing or seeing, make sure that you have any of those devices and other things that you need to have at the ready.”

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