By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state fire marshal says fire-related deaths in Ohio dropped significantly last year, with one possible factor being the unusually mild winter.
The preliminary figure of 106 fatalities dropped by about 17% from 2011, which also saw a major drop from 2010.
Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland, led the state with 16 fire deaths, followed by Franklin and Lucas counties, each with six fatalities.
Fire Marshal Larry Flowers says the cause of the majority of fatal fires was undetermined. Smoking and cooking led the categories when the cause was known.
Flowers says mild temperatures through March last year may have played a role since heating sources can sometimes lead to an increase in fires in the coldest months.
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