Minnesota fire deaths reach highest number since 2011

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The number of fire deaths in Minnesota has reached its highest level in four years.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office announced that three fatalities in the span of three days has brought the total number of deaths this year to 51, up from 43 at the same time last year.

There's a likely chance that number will rise in the remaining two weeks of the year, which the marshal's office notes is considered one of the most dangerous periods for residential fires.

One of the three fatal incidents of the past few days saw 5-year-old Jaidyn Andrus killed in a fire at a mobile home in Ham Lake early Sunday morning.

There have only been three years since 1999 where there were more fire deaths than this year, with 56 recorded in 2011, 64 in 2002 and 64 in 1999, the marshal's office says.

According to MPR, the Christmas holiday brings a whole new level of fire risk in homes, with the three leading causes of fires during that time being cooking, heating and open flames.

Christmas lights and holiday decorations can also be a source of fires, with the news organization noting that half of decoration fires are caused when they are put too close to a heat source.

The marshal's office has advice for minimizing the risk of fires:

• Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking.
• Never leave items like candles and space heaters unattended.
• Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children.
• Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. They give you the crucial time needed to escape if there is a fire.

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