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State Fire Marshal

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

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A silent killer: Woman urges people to install carbon monoxide alarms following deaths of 5 family members

Hurricane Laura was the most devastating storm to ever hit Louisiana.

So when Sheletta Brundidge’s family survived the hurricane’s initial impact in August, the Cottage Grove resident and Twin Cities radio personality was relieved.

Then tragedy struck. 

Sheletta never thought the generator her loved ones used to stay comfortable and keep the lights on following the storm would kill five of her family members. 

Their story and their deaths are a somber reminder the importance of safely using generators and having working carbon monoxide alarms in your home, especially during the winter heating season.  

Robust plans in place to help fire departments across Minnesota continue to provide services

COVID-19 is a serious illness that can affect anyone — including firefighters.

The virus is beginning to impact fire departments across the state. We are monitoring the situation and working closely with fire service leaders to ensure Minnesota’s 776 departments will be able to keep their communities safe should firefighters become ill or need to quarantine. 

We are prepared for situations like this. There are robust plans in place to continue the delivery of emergency services promptly and safely. These plans existed long before COVID-19. 

“We are confident the Minnesota fire service will continue doing what they do best — keeping their communities safe,” State Fire Marshal Jim Smith said. 

We have created a statewide Fire Department Mutual Aid Status Map to help departments should their resources become overwhelmed. The map also helps us monitor service levels. Learn more about the map here​

We are ready to send additional help through the Intrastate Mutual Aid Plan if necessary. Learn more about the plan in this blog post

How can you help? Prevent a fire in your home with these tips.

Prevent a gas-related explosion in your home

We have seen an increase this year in deaths following gas-related explosions. 

Number of deaths

  • 2020: 5 (preliminary)
  • 2019: 3
  • 2018: 2
  • 2017: 2
  • 2016: 1

While we can’t identify any specific reason for the increase, we do know that there are steps people can take to prevent a gas-related explosion in their home. 
Learn more in this fact sheet​ about how to protect your home and your family. 

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