ALBERT LEA, Minn. — While fire death numbers are going down in Minnesota, safety crews say there are ways to bring that number closer to zero.
Early numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety show that the number of fire related fatalities in 2013 was 43. Compare that to 50 in 2012 and 56 in 2011.
Even those numbers are a spike from two years before with the state’s all-time low of 35 in 2009, a long way from 134 in 1976.
“You want to look at long-term when you look at the record high of 134 deaths. Any deaths at all from fire are too many, but we’re happy to see it moving to a lower and lower number,” said Captain Scott Hanna of the Albert Lea Fire Department.
He said there are simple ways to prevent many of those deaths.
“Smoke detectors, you go back 30 years ago and they were a high-cost item. Now you can get good smoke detectors for under ten dollars. They’re the cheapest insurance you can possibly get, not just for your property, but for the lives of your family,” Hanna said.
There were five fire fatalities in the first month of this year. That is up from three in January of 2013.