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October 04, 2012 10:01 AM

Mitchell Hit Hard By Fires; Damage Costs Top $1.3M

MITCHELL, SD

The southeast South Dakota town of Mitchell is reeling from a string of unrelated fires that have so far killed two people and caused more than $1.3 million in damage.

Fire officials say that through August, the damage estimates are up by more than five times last year's total of about $250,000. In the same time period, the total number of fires has eclipsed all of last year's - 62 to 57.

Those numbers don't include September's tallies, when two more homes were destroyed.

Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris says it's "an unusual trend."

Officials say there's no common link among the blazes. The city's fire division is giving away 270 smoke detectors at the city's Walmart from noon-2 p.m. Oct. 13.

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