Topeka Kansas State Fire Marshal Dan McLaughlin says this could be one of the deadliest fire years in the state’s recent history.
McLaughlin says that as of March 31, 15 civilians and two firefighters have died in fires in Kansas. The state averages 33 civilian and two firefighter deaths per year. Last year, 40 civilians and four firefighters died in blazes statewide.
He says children under the age of 12 and adults over 65 are at the greatest risk.
Most fire deaths occur in structures, with the main causes being children playing with fire and space heaters igniting nearby material. And McLaughlin says five to seven people die every year from smoking around oxygen.