Sun. 5:42pm: Fire deaths in Ohio reach 26-year low in 2012

COLUMBUS (AP) – The number of fire-related deaths in Ohio dropped last year to a 26-year low, with the state fire marshal attributing part of the decline to the unusually mild winter.

It was the second year running that Ohio saw double digit decreases in the numbers of people killed in blazes, said Fire Marshal Larry Flowers.

The state recorded an unofficial 106 fire deaths for 2012, a 17 percent drop from the year before, which saw 128 fire deaths.

The figures for 2012 are tentative and could rise slightly as fire departments finish their mandatory reporting to the state.

The year’s deadliest fire happened in November in northwest Ohio. A fast-moving fire leveled a 130-year-old farmhouse and killed three young children and two adults. The wood-frame home, which sat outside the village of Republic, about 50 miles southeast of Toledo, was fairly isolated and surrounded by farm fields. The nearest house was about a quarter-mile away.

On March 3, a house fire in Warren killed two girls, their mother and a man who was staying with them. Authorities said the blaze apparently began in the kitchen, possibly near the stove, and no smoke detectors were found in the house.