'Careless smoking' caused the Alexandria mobile home blaze that killed 2

2 people died in the fire at a mobile home park in Alexandria.

The Essentials

1. A mobile home fire that claimed the life of two people in Alexandria on Friday was caused by "careless smoking."

2. The results of the investigation by the Alexandria Fire Department, Police Department and the State Fire Marshal found that the blaze at the mobile home park started in the living room, near a couch and recliner.

3. Rose Couillard, 59, and James Chandler, 49, died from smoke inhalation. There were no working smoke detectors in the property.

What Else You Should Know

Couillard and Chandler were the first fire deaths of 2018 in Minnesota, following a deadly 2017 that saw at least 60 people die in fires.

The final number of confirmed fire deaths in 2017 hasn't yet been released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and until then we won't have a clear idea how many of these were caused by cigarettes.

But even in 2016, a lower year for fire deaths, "careless smoking" was still a problem in the state, when it was responsible for 7 out of 36 fatal fires.

The National Fire Prevention Association reports that fires started by smoking materials claim more than 500 lives in America each year, and cause more than 17,000 structure fires.

So how do you avoid it? The U.S. Fire Administration suggests the following:

  • Smoke outside so nothing in your home catches fire;
  • Always put cigarettes completely out, every time;
  • Don't smoke while you're tired, or after taking medicine that makes you sleepy;
  • Do not smoke while in bed;
  • And put your cigarette out in an ashtray or bucket filled with sand.

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