Deadly St. Paul fire serves as reminder to make an escape plan​

​​​​Jan.11, 2024

The aftermath of a deadly fire in St. Paul The aftermath of a deadly Jan. 3 fire in St. Paul.

A deadly overnight fire in St. Paul on Jan. 3 trapped seven people in their home while they slept. Although the St. Paul Fire Department rescued the six children and one adult from the home, all were hospitalized from the side effects of smoke inhalation. Four of the children died due to their injuries as of Jan. 10.

The blaze is a heart-breaking reminder of how important it is to have a plan to escape in case of a fire, as well as properly working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

The beginning of January is a busy time of year. As we all get back into the swing of our daily routine after the winter break, fire prevention and safety tend to take a back seat. However, State Fire Marshal Dan Krier reminds us that not putting safety first could have tragic consequences for you, your family or your guests.

“It's really important to have that home escape plan to know how you're going to get out. And then it's really important to practice it," Krier told KSTP. “Much like back to your childhood days of doing the fire drills in your schools, we want you to do fire drills at home so that you can practice how you will act under pressure."

If you have a working smoke alarm, you have about three minutes to get out of your burning home. When you're faced with a wall of fire, you don't have the time or luxury of thinking about an alternate escape route for the first time. That's why our State Fire Marshal (SFM) division urges everyone to map out their escape plan now, before the worst happens. Your plan should include multiple ways to get out of a home — whether it's through a window or a door — as well as each room. Think about how you'd exit a second story room and if you're trapped by fire, close the door, open a window and be ready to alert firefighters when they arrive.

Time is critical to your escape, no matter what causes the fire. Without a working smoke alarm, your chances of surviving a house fire are cut in half. Those aren't good odds.

Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. They should be placed on the ceiling. If they are on the wall, they must be no more than 12 inches below the ceiling.

CO poisoning incidents increase during the winter months. CO alarms should be installed within 10 feet of each sleeping room or inside each sleeping room. If a CO alarm sounds and you feel ill, call 911 immediately.

Remember: Alarms can only save your life if they work, so test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Learn more about how to make your fire escape plan on our SFM website.​