STOW, Mass. (AP) – After hitting a record low in 2006, the state fire marshal’s office says, civilian fire deaths increased by 21 percent in Massachusetts in 2007.

Sixty-one civilians died in fires in 2007, compared with 44 the previous year. Three firefighters were also killed while battling blazes, including two from Boston who died in a restaurant fire in West Roxbury.

The leading cause of fatal fires remained careless smoking – blamed for 43 percent of residential fire deaths. Electric problems were the second leading cause.

Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says 38 percent of all residential fire victims were not alerted by smoke detectors – either because there were none, or because the ones that existed had been disabled.

2007 was the last year for which statistics were available.


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