A house fire in Duluth, MN has claimed the life of one man early this morning. Firefighters responding to the call just after midnight arrived to find the home, located in the 4500 block of Cooke Street, fully engulfed in flames. They found Ray Allen Nordin, 64, unconscious inside and performed measures to save his life, but he succumbed to his injuries.
Duluth fire officials say the fire, which began in the main floor bedroom, was accidental and that smoking materials and a space heater are being investigated as potential causes. It was the area’s fourth fatal fire within the last month. The other fatal fires occurred in Normanna Township, Hermantown and one just north of Cloquet.
Smoking and heating sources are two major sources of house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Smoking is the leading cause of home fire fatalities. In 2011, there were about 90,000 smoking-material fires in the United States that caused 540 deaths and 1,640 injuries. One-quarter of the people who died in those fires were non-smokers. Half were ages 65 and over. Most house fire fatalities originate in bedrooms.
Heating equipment, including furnaces, fireplaces and space heaters, is the second leading cause of house fires and fire deaths. Space heaters account for two-fifths of those fires and 84 percent of deaths and 73 percent of the injuries they cause. Most heating equipment fires begin because heating equipment is placed too close to flammable items.