INDIANAPOLIS — The state’s top firefighter says the number of people killed in Indiana fires during 2017 fell more than 10 percent from the previous year.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says 70 Hoosiers died in fires last year. That’s down from 78 deaths in 2016, or about a 10.3 percent drop.

State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says while it’s tragic when anyone is injured or killed in a fire, officials are encouraged by the decline. He praised first responders for their efforts to make Hoosiers safer.

Officials say fire departments, partnerships and the American Red Cross have installed nearly 32,000 smoke alarms across Indiana since October 2014.

The National Fire Protection Association says two out of five U.S. fire deaths between 2009 and 2013 occurred in homes without smoke alarms.

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