One person has died in a Christmas Day fire near Austin, Minn., authorities said.
Fire Chief Jim McCoy said Saturday night that the fire broke out just after 3 p.m. at a home just south of Austin, Minn. The victim’s name has not been released.
No further details were available Saturday night. The state fire marshal is investigating.
Fire-related deaths have spiked this year, claiming the lives of at least 52 Minnesotans, compared with 44 in 2014, according to recent data from the state fire marshal. Several of the victims have been children.
The cause of the Austin house fire is not yet known. Statewide, unattended cooking and heating are the leading culprits for residential fires, while careless smoking is the chief cause of fire fatalities. The latter has been blamed for at least seven deaths in Minnesota this year.
House fires tend to peak around the holidays, authorities say, when more wood fires and candles are in use and when more cooking is taking place.