2020 now deadlier year for fires in Minnesota than 2019

Maple Grove Fire crews work to extinguish a fire at a commercial building on Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove Tuesday night. (Maple Grove Fire & Rescue)

More people in Minnesota have now died in fires this year than last year, according to the State Fire Marshal. 

There have been three fire deaths in Minnesota already this month, bringing the total this year so far to 50. In 2019, there a total of 47 fire deaths reported in Minnesota. 

One of the most recent deadly fires occurred at a boat storage facility in Maple Grove. 

The State Fire Marshal says most fires occur at home. To prevent a fire in your home, officials say you should smoke outside, properly dispose of cigarettes, and stay in the kitchen and pay attention while cooking. 

There has been some concerns this year about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting fire departments. The Plato Fire Department went out of service for awhile in November after three-quarters of its volunteer crew either tested positive or was exposed to the coronavirus. 

Officials have created a statewide map to monitor COVID-19 levels at fire departments to better track the need for mutual aid amid the pandemic. The map is available here