There were 63 fire-related deaths in Minnesota in 2017 – the highest number the state has experienced since 2002, when 64 people died in fires.

Ten of 2017’s fatalities occurred in December, including seven deaths during the last two weeks of the year. December’s total matches July 2011 as the deadliest single month in recent years.

Minnesota fire-related deaths

As Minnesota’s population has grown from 3.8 million in 1970 to 5.5 million in 2016, fire-related deaths have decreased, according to the “2016 Fire in Minnesota” annual report by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division.

During the 1980s, Minnesota fire-related deaths dropped 19 percent from the levels of the 1970s. The 1990s showed a further decrease of 25 percent from the level of the 1980s. The 2000s had a decrease of 21 percent from the 1990s.

However, the increase shown in 2017 over 2016 is indicative of an overall increase shown during the 2010s over the previous decade.

The overall decline in fire deaths the last 30-plus years can be attributed to fire-service advancements, including the development of fire-protection technology (smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, etc.). Here is a look at the average number of fire-caused deaths in the state by decade:

  • 2010-2017: 49.5
  • 2000-2009: 46.5
  • 1990-1999: 63.6
  • 1980-1989: 77.6

Leading causes of MN structure fires

Cooking continues to be the No. 1 cause of fires in Minnesota, with heating No. 2 and electrical malfunction No. 3, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division. The list:

  1. Cooking = 45.1%
  2. Heating = 10.0%
  3. Electrical = 7.9%
  4. Appliance = 7.5%
  5. Careless = 6.6%
  6. Open flame = 5.9%
  7. Incendiary = 4.0%
  8. Smoking = 2.8%
  9. Other = 10.3%

Fires in residential properties represented 77 percent of all structure fires.

Improve your odds

According to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
  • More than one-third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

Fire facts and tips

Residential fires increase dramatically during the winter months, due to heating, lighting, cooking, and entertaining. For  resources on fire prevention, safety tips and facts you need to know, visit:

Contact for a free consultationElliot Olsen

If you have lost a loved one in a fire and believe negligence was involved, you should contact Elliot Olsen. Elliot has decades of experience with such cases, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation for surviving family members. For a free consultation, please call him at 612-337-6126, or complete the following: