LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s fire-related deaths rose significantly in January as the state began 2022 with 144% more deadly fires than it saw during the same month last year, officials said.
Michigan’s Bureau of Fire Services recorded 18 fires and 22 associated deaths last month, the state’s fire marshal and department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said Friday. The agencies said that’s a 144% increase in fire deaths compared to January 2021.
Officials said in a statement that those 22 deaths “were all accidental and preventable.”
January’s deadly fires included a Jan. 17 fire at a multi-family dwelling in Pontiac that killed two men and injured five people.
Michigan Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer said state residents need to boost their awareness of fire safety precautions, including making sure their homes have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and they also should have a fire escape plan.
“It is important to talk about fire safety with our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, and help them prepare their home to be more fire safe,” Sehlmeyer said in a statement.
Last year, the three major causes of fatal fires in Michigan were cigarette smoking, heating devices such as space heaters and fireplaces, and cooking, according to a state fire fatality report. That report states that most residential fires started in the living room or in a bedroom.