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50 people killed by fire in 2012, two deaths in Kandiyohi County, Minn.

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50 people killed by fire in 2012, two deaths in Kandiyohi County, Minn.
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

From staff reports

ST. PAUL -- The number of people killed last year in fires is down 11 percent from 2011, according to final figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Public Safety's State Fire Marshal Division.

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Fifty people died in fires last year compared to 56 in 2011. The state's all-time low fire-death figure was 35 in 2009; the high was 134 in 1976.

The 50 people include a man who died as a result of injuries suffered in a September 2012 house fire at 4317 133rd Ave. N.E, west of Spicer near Nest Lake. David Lindner, 70, of Spicer, died Sept. 16, 2012, at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The owner of the home, Stephen Sarafolean, 52, and his girlfriend, Sandra Jane Davis, 56, escaped the fire by jumping from a second-floor window, but they were not injured.

The number also includes a Lake Lillian man killed in an explosion and fire caused by an LP gas leak in March 2012 at a home along Big Kandiyohi Lake. Daniel Ray Rustad, 64, died in the incident. He was the lone occupant in the home, located along the 6400 block of 126th Avenue Southeast.

Fire deaths occurred in 38 Minnesota cities in 2012. Fires in Minnetonka, St. Paul and Blue Earth each claimed the lives of two people. St. Paul had the most fire deaths with four, followed by Blue Earth (3) and Minneapolis (3). Balaton, Bloomington, Faribault, Fergus Falls and Minnetonka each had two fire deaths.

"We hope for the year when we have no fire fatalities to report. We hope for the day when families don't have to grieve for members killed prematurely in a preventable fire," State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl said. "Most fires are preventable. Minnesotans need to learn how to prevent fires and how to escape them so we can continue to reduce the number of fire fatalities."

Some key findings from the 2012 fire death statistics include that 23 people died in fires in one- or two-family dwellings, four people died in multifamily apartment buildings, two people died in hotels, motels or cabins and 18 people died in non-structure fires.

Twenty-three fire deaths in 2012 were accidental and half the people who died in fires were between ages 51 and 70. Thirty-four percent of fire deaths involved alcohol or drugs.

There have been nine fire deaths between January and April this year, compared to 19 during that that time in 2012.

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