Most recent fire fatality marks highest fire-related death toll St. Paul has seen in decades

A person has died from their injuries weeks after a St. Paul fire, marking the seventh fire fatality for the city in 2024 – a number the city hasn’t seen in 30 years.

Crews were sent to the 200 block of University Avenue on Feb. 18 around 8:20 a.m. for a report of a fire on the eighth floor of a high-rise building and a person stuck inside their unit, according to Roy Mokosso, Deputy Chief for the St. Paul Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, the fire had been extinguished by automatic sprinklers, Mokosso said. The person was then brought to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

On Thursday morning, Mokosso said the department was notified of the person’s death. However, the victim’s gender and age haven’t been released as of this publishing.

The cause of the fire was determined to be smoking. Crews also found a number of oxygen tanks the victim had been using while smoking, according to Mokosso, who added that smoking is the leading cause of all fire fatalities.

A dog was also found uninjured in the unit.

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The City of St. Paul averages two to three fire fatalities a year. The last time the city saw seven fire fatalities in one year was 30 years ago, in 1994.

Earlier in the month, a house burned in the city’s St. Anthony Park neighborhood, killing Sylvia Ruud and two dogs.

RELATED: Family member speaks about deadly St. Anthony Park neighborhood fire

In late January, another person died after an accidental kitchen fire broke out at a home on the 1600 block of Juliet Avenue.

During the first week of 2024, four children, ranging in ages from 1-5, died after an overnight fire on Arkwright Street.

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