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State Fire Marshal


Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Jen Longaecker  651-201-7570
February 03, 2014
Fire Deaths Drop in 2013
Education Will Help Save More Lives this Year
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The number of people killed in fires last year is down 14 percent from 2012, according to preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD).

There were 43 residential fire fatalities in 2013 in Minnesota; there were 50 in 2012 and 56 in 2011.

 “The only acceptable number of fire deaths is zero,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said. “While we are encouraged the number of fatalities is down, we all must work together to make sure every Minnesotan understands how to prevent fires and how to escape them.”

The state’s all-time low fire-death figure was 35 in 2009; the high was 134 in 1976.

Figures are preliminary at this time because fatality reports from Minnesota burn centers and hospitals are not yet final, and the state’s fire departments are still sending data to the SFMD to be compiled over the next few months. Final numbers for 2013 will be released later this year.

There were five residential fire fatalities in the first month of 2014; there were three in January 2013.

Fire safety and prevention tips
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Replace batteries at least once a year. 
  • Use flameless candles instead of real ones. 
  • Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended.
  • Keep flammable materials at least 18 inches away from any open flame. Watch for commonly used materials like oven mitts, curtains, towels and clothing.
  • Have a safe-escape plan for every building you visit, even your own home.
  • Consider protecting your home or business with fire sprinklers.
The SFMD works to reduce fire deaths with emphasis on education and fire prevention, and by promoting the use of protection systems like smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems.

About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety comprises 11 divisions where employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the State Fire Marshal Division
The mission of the State Fire Marshal Division is to protect lives and property by fostering a fire-safe environment through fire/arson investigation, code development and enforcement, regulation, data collection and public education. Data collected by the State Fire Marshal Division from fire departments statewide is analyzed and used to determine the best methods of public education and enforcement to improve fire safety in our state.

State Fire Marshal Division 2012 statistics
  • One structure fire was reported in Minnesota every 1.4 hours.
  • 4,863 of a total 6,436 structure fires in Minnesota occurred in residential property.
  • 58 percent of fire deaths occurred where people generally feel safest – at home. 


445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 |