State Fire Marshal: 4 of 8 fire deaths this year likely smoking related

A report from the State Fire Marshal says four of the eight fire deaths that have occurred since Jan. 8 appear to be smoking-related. 

According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, smoking is usually the leading cause of fatal fires each year in the state. 

In 2019, at least seven people died in smoking-related fires. 

Fire deaths up by 14% in 2019, state officials say

"I was a smoker for 30 years. I know how hard it is to quit," State Fire Marshal Jim Smith said. "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."

To remain safe, Smith suggests the following tips for smokers: 

  • Smoke outside and extinguish cigarettes 
  • Do not discard cigarettes in potted plants or other vegetation 
  • Do not smoke while on oxygen or while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. 

The causes of the other four fatal fires this year included unsafe use of heat, outdoor burning and a propane explosion.