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Minnesota fire deaths reach record low: 40 in 2007

State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl has announced that 2007 fire deaths in Minnesota reached a new record low of 40, a number which breaks the previous lows of 41 deaths in 2005 and 1987. It continues a downward trend in fire fatalities in Minnesota and across the country -- a trend that Rosendahl attributes to code enforcement, public education, fire investigation, new technology and firefighter training.

"In the past 30 years, annual fire deaths have plunged from 125 to 40 because of several factors that impact each other," he says. Improvements in forensic science and technology allow investigators to pinpoint the causes of fires. That assists in development of better detection and suppression methods, and stronger, more effective fire codes. Firefighters are better trained and equipped to stop the spread of fire on the scene, as well, he says.

Rosendahl also credits public educators for helping to reduce fire deaths. "We work hard at the state and local levels to deliver consistent fire safety messages. An informed public can reduce the number of accidental fires and help us identify and prosecute arsonists."

Thirteen people have lost their lives in fires thus far in 2008. That compares with 21 deaths at this time last year. A complete set of Minnesota fire death statistics from 1970-present can be found online at

According to U.S. Fire Administration data, Minnesota now has the 10th lowest fire death rate in the nation.