ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A preliminary report released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Friday shows that fire deaths went up 31 percent in Minnesota from 2010 to 2011.
The report says 51 people died in fires across the state last year compared to 39 in 2010. Minnesota had an all-time low 35 fire deaths in 2009. DPS officials said last year’s high number is an anomaly in a downward trend that’s been consistent for about the last 20 years.
State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl said six of the fires accounted for 17 deaths. Three fire deaths were ruled suicide and 16 involved alcohol or drugs. Officials said 12 people died in fires attributed to careless smoking or unattended candles.
Rosendahl said Minnesota’s fire death rate of 8.6 per 1,000,000 people is far below the national average of 11.8.