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State says kitchen fire fatalities spiked in 2013

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State says kitchen fire fatalities spiked in 2013
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Bailey Hovland

ST. PAUL — According to statistics from the State Fire Marshal, kitchen fires killed more people in 2013 than the previous seven years combined.

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Six people died last year in fires caused by leaving food unattended while cooking. Unattended cooking — which caused an average of less than one death each year since 2006 — joined careless smoking as the top cause of fire fatalities in Minnesota last year.

“Leaving the kitchen, even for just a moment, can be deadly,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said in a news release. “Following a few simple rules can keep us all safe and put an end to these preventable fire deaths.”

West offers these fire safety tips: Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended, keep a lid next to each pan so that you can smother a fire if one starts, keep cloth and pot holders away from the stove and keep cooking surfaces clean.

There were 6,330 structure fires last year and 44 fire deaths. One structure fire was reported in Minnesota every 1.4 hours in 2013. The top three causes of these fires were cooking at 49 percent, heating at 9 percent and electrical disturbances at 6 percent, according to the preliminary “Fire in Minnesota” report.

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