ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A person was found dead in a St. Paul home after a fire started just before midnight on Wednesday, fire officials said. This is already one of the deadliest years for fires in St. Paul in the past three decades.
According to the St. Paul Fire Department, firefighters responded to a fire on the 2200 block of Buford Avenue at 11:56 p.m. on Feb. 7. The dispatch call came in as a "suspicious person" and the person who called 911 reported they heard a person yelling "help."
The St. Paul Police Department was the first to arrive on the scene. Officers made contact with one of the residents outside the home, who said someone was still inside. Police attempted to get inside the home, but couldn't due to heavy smoke and heat conditions, the release says.
Firefighters then responded and put out the fire. Inside, crews found a victim in the room where the fire started. The victim has not been identified.
A resident was treated by paramedics and transported to a local hospital. Two dogs also died in the fire.
No other injuries were reported.
The preliminary investigation indicates smoking caused the fire. Smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires in Minnesota, the release notes. There were also no working smoke detectors found near where the blaze started.
One of the deadliest years for fires in St. Paul
This is the sixth fire fatality in the City of St. Paul this year, and it's only early February. The majority of this year's fire deaths in St. Paul resulted from a fire on Jan. 6 — four children eventually died after being rescued from the burning home.
The St. Paul Fire Department says the city averages two to three fire fatalities a year. St. Paul saw six fire fatalities in 2017.
The most fire deaths recorded in the last 30 years in St. Paul was seven in 1997.