Skip to main content
Publish date:

8 fire deaths in 2 weeks in Minnesota, half caused by smoking

Smoking-related fires can be prevented using simple measures.

Smoking is the suspected cause of four fatal fires since Jan. 9 in Minnesota, according to State Fire Marshal Jim Smith. 

Tragically, the four smoking-related fire deaths in Minnesota since Jan. 9 account for only half of the eight people who have died in fires over the last two weeks. The victims of the fires that were likely smoking related include: 

  • 80-year-old Maple Grove woman on Jan. 9. 
  • 77-year-old Eveleth woman on Jan. 14. 
  • 29-year-old St. Paul man on Jan. 18.
  • 83-year-old Montevideo woman on Jan. 14.

“I was a smoker for 30 years. I know how hard it is to quit,” State Fire Marshal Smith said in a release. “But it’s not hard to smoke outside and properly extinguish your cigarettes in a sturdy container filled with sand or water. It’s not hard to talk to your loved ones who smoke and ask them to do these things.”

The other fire deaths are believed to have been caused by unsafe use of heat, outdoor burning and a propane explosion that killed two people in Bigfork. 

Since 2009, the average age of a person killed in a smoking-related fire in Minnesota is 61. This year, seven of the eight people killed in fires are over the age of 50. 

“These deaths are often happening to vulnerable people who are alone,” Smith said. “That’s why we are asking family members and anyone in contact with older smokers to look in on them and help them be safe.”

Tips from the State Fire Marshal Office to avoid smoking-related fires: 

  • Smoke outside and extinguish cigarettes in a sturdy ashtray filled with sand or water.
  • Do not discard cigarettes in potted plants, leaves, mulch or other vegetation.
  • Do not smoke while on oxygen or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Smoking can kill you more ways than one,” Smith said. “Year after year, people die in preventable smoking-related fires and, to be honest, it’s frustrating.” 

Next Up

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.

covid

Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Report: Dalvin Cook suffered torn labrum, dislocated shoulder

Cook is now dealing with a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum on both sides of his body, according to a report.

Tanner Morgan

Tanner Morgan returning to Gophers for 6th season

One Gophers QB has already entered the transfer portal.

Allina Health Richfield - 407 W 66th St, Richfield, Minnesota - June 2019 - CROP

Charges: Clinic locked down after man tried to enter, threatened passersby

Staff at the clinic suspected he was intoxicated, according to the complaint.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, November 29

The state's latest report includes data from the Thanksgiving break.

unsplash - woman sick coughing - CROP

Long COVID: Review of Mayo patients may provide new clues

The researchers summarized three "major novel findings" from the data.

Joe Biden

Biden's visit to MN will include stop at Dakota County Technical College

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed earlier this month.

Brooklyn Center police

Victim of 'accidental' shooting ID'd as 23-year-old Duluth woman

The 23-year-old died three days after being shot while sitting in a parked vehicle.

Related

Man dies, woman and 2 teens escape house fire in Andover

The teenagers were taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

pixabay-fire-truck-side-close

2 people found dead after central MN house fire

The sheriff's office and State Fire Marshal are investigating.

2 dead in Spring Lake Park house fire

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

fire, flames

2 people found dead after house fire in New Hope

The fire was reported just before 11 a.m. Thursday.

fire, flames

Apartment complex fire leaves 1 dead in Montevideo

The fire happened very early Tuesday morning.

fire, firefighter

Boy dies, 3 others airlifted following Becker County house fire

The fire was reported just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

1 dead, 2 people escape house fire in Long Lake

More information will be released in due time.