Man dies after cooking fire guts kitchen

A 31-year-old man was killed last weekend when the food he was cooking caught fire and spread to kitchen cabinets, producing a great deal of smoke and gutting the kitchen of a duplex in the 1900 block of Upper Afton Road in St. Paul. The cause of the fire was determined as unattended cooking.

According to Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard, St. Paul firefighters were called at 12:48 a.m. March 24 by neighbors reporting smoke coming from the side-by-side duplex. Firefighters arrived and quickly put out the smoky fire. 

During the primary search for possible victims they discovered a man later identified as Lorenzo Hawkins unresponsive in a rear bedroom. He was treated by fire department paramedics who were at the scene and rushed to Regions Hospital, where he died. 

Hawkins was home alone at the time of the fire. Experts are examining the single smoke detector found in the home.

The fire marshal notes that unattended cooking is the leading cause of building fires in Minnesota. 

Hawkins’ was the first fire death in St. Paul in 2013.

The city’s last fire fatality was March 22, 2012, when a 53-year-old man died of smoke inhalation in a garage he lived in on Juno Avenue. That death was attributed to careless smoking in bed.

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