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A patient injured in a St. Paul apartment fire last week has died, marking this year as one of the deadliest for fire fatalities in the city.

St. Paul Deputy Fire Chief Roy Mokosso said the victim died of injuries sustained during a Feb. 18 apartment fire. A 911 caller reported the fire at 8:21 a.m. that day inside a high-rise apartment on the 200 block of University Avenue. The unit's occupant was still trapped inside. Firefighters entered and found the patient inside with a small fire that was extinguished by automatic sprinklers.

Investigators believe smoking caused the fire, adding that the victim was using oxygen tanks at the time. Mokosso said unattended cooking is the leading cause for fires, and smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. Although St. Paul averages up to three fire fatalities a year, this death brings the city to seven — a grim record last set in 1994. Officials worry St. Paul will surpass that record this year.

"In some cases folks haven't had working smoke detectors. In some cases, lack of a plan in regards to getting out," Mokosso said. "It's really tough. There's seven fatalities so far and every single one of them has been accidental. If they're accidental, that means they are preventable."

A house fire in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood marked one of the deadliest in city history, killing four children and hospitalizing two others. Investigators believe an unattended candle caused that blaze. A suspected kitchen fire weeks later killed another person, and a residential fire led to the sixth fire fatality in St. Paul this year.

Fire officials are creating educational videos to raise awareness about fire safety and prevention, and Mokosso said residents can apply for free smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and other safety equipment through the department's website.