MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We’re not quite done with 2017 yet, but state officials say the number of fire deaths this year is already 30 percent more than in 2016.

The State Fire Marshal said Wednesday there have been 56 reported deaths in fires in the state this year. That’s a 30 percent increase from last year, where there were 43 fatalities reported. There were 42 fire deaths at this time last year.

This year’s 56 doesn’t currently include five deaths in fires over the past week. At least three people died in a house fire in Hibbing on Tuesday. A man died in a house fire in Lakeville on Tuesday, and one person died in a house fire in Marshall on Monday.

State officials say there were 57 fire deaths in 2015, the highest since 64 died in 2002.

Authorities say the leading cause of fatal fires in Minnesota is careless smoking, and the leading cause of residential fires is cooking.

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