PORTLAND — The number of fire deaths in Maine more than doubled last year from the state’s record low set in 2010.

Steve McCausland of the Maine Public Safety Department says the state recorded nine fire deaths in 2010. In 2011, the number grew to 23.

He says the worst year for fire deaths was 1967, when 70 people died. The average for the past decade has been 17.

The worst house fire happened in March, when two young sisters died in a fire caused by a torch that was used to thaw a frozen pipe in Lisbon Falls.

As for homicides, the state ended the year with 23, on par with the average of 24 homicides during the past decade. Maine’s worst year for homicides was 1989, with 40.

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