St. Paul, MN (Learfield)  --  State Fire Marshal Bruce West says it's hard to figure out why Minnesota's fire deaths dropped by 37-percent last year.

Officials say 36 people died in fires in the Gopher State in 2016, down from 57 the previous year.  Careless smoking was the biggest cause of fatal fires last year, with seven victims.  Combustibles, arson, and suicides accounted for four deaths each.

2017 could be different. On Friday morning, one person died in an apartment fire in Mound and Thursday a woman died in a house fire in Mountain Iron.