Fire safety reminders after 2 die in northern Minnesota house fire

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Two people died and three others were injured early Saturday in a house fire in Cass County, authorities say.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the fire broke out in a trailer home in rural Deer River about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. When firefighters arrived, they found the structure fully engulfed in flames.

A man and a woman were found dead inside the home. A woman and two teenage girls escaped the fire and were taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, according to the News Tribune.

The bodies of the two victims will be taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies, the Grand Rapids Review reports. Their names have not been released pending notification of family members.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Cass County sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office.

Other agencies at the scene included the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department; the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office; fire departments from Deer River, Cohasset and Grand Rapids; and the Deer River Ambulance Service.

Another house fire early Saturday morning broke out in northwestern Wisconsin, but the occupant escaped safely.

The Northland News Center reports the woman awoke to the sound of her smoke alarm in her Douglas County home, and her house was filled with smoke.

She escaped by crawling out of her bedroom window wearing only pajamas.

A person driving past stopped to call 911, and had the woman get into the vehicle to stay warm.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fire Safety

The holiday season is the most dangerous time of the year when it comes to house fires, according to the Minnesota Fire Marshal's office.

The three leading causes of Minnesota fires last year were accidents involving cooking, heating and open flames – and all are holiday staples. The office passes along these safety tips:

Cooking

  • Never leave a hot stovetop or oven unattended.
  • Smother a stovetop grease fire with a pan lid and turn off the burner.

Heating

  • Keep space heaters three feet from anything combustible.
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended and turn them off while you’re sleeping.
  • Inspect heaters before use; make sure safety shields are in place and electrical components intact.

Open flames

  • Leave three feet between a lit candle and anything that can burn.
  • Consider switching to flameless candles.
  • Decorations like stockings, tinsel and garland are combustible. Keep them three feet from any fuel source.
  • Never burn gift wrap in a fireplace; it burns too fast and hot to be controlled.

Since 1990, there have been 165 fire deaths and 60 injuries between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

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