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State Fire Marshal

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

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Smoking remains leading cause of Minnesota fire deaths

Packs of seized drugs

Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in Minnesota, killing an average of nine people each year.

You can prevent fatal fires caused by careless smoking:
• If you smoke, take it outside.
• Properly dispose of cigarettes outside in a sturdy container filled with sand or water.
• Make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished.
• Never smoke while using medical oxygen or in a home where medical oxygen is being used.
• And remember: most smoking-related fire deaths happen to people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Fire 43 years ago leads to creation of hotel inspection program

Smoking can kill you. More ways than one

Sixteen people died in a fire Jan. 28, 1977, at the Stratford Hotel in Breckenridge. The cause of the fire was never determined, though electric heaters, careless smoking, a coal-fired furnace, and arson are all possibilities. 

The SFMD added 10 staff the year after the fire to inspect hotel and lodging facilities. Today, our Residential Care and Lodging Team continues fire safety inspections in hotels across Minnesota at least once every three years.

What can you do to stay safe? Make sure the hotel you’re staying in has sprinklers and smoke alarms. Do not prop open doors; closed doors help keep fire from spreading.

Oh, and you know that map on the back of your hotel room door that shows exit locations? Don’t ignore it. Look at that map and make sure you know the quickest way out of the building in the event of a fire. 

Is there a 'silent killer' in your home?

​Could your stove, furnace or fireplace be putting you at risk?

It could be if it’s producing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months because people may use unsafe heat sources or don't follow fire safety rules.

Make sure your CO alarms are working properly and test them once a month. Clear snow build-up from dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace vents. And never use grills inside.

Featured Video

Video Description: Take it from Minnesota Twins pitcher Taylor Rogers, smoke alarms save lives – but only if they work.