EVERETT, WA – Saturday night, shortly before 10:30 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the Library Place Apartments, located at 2720 Hoyt Avenue, for a fire alarm that monitors the building’s fire sprinkler system. As crews investigated the source, they found light smoke and a significant amount of water on the third floor caused by a stovetop fire from unattended cooking in one of the units.
The fire sprinklers in the affected apartment did their job and controlled the stovetop fire, containing the fire to the kitchen area and preventing it from spreading to the rest of the unit or to other units in the building. Fire damage was limited to the involved apartment’s kitchen area. At the time of the call, water had flowed through the affected apartment, into the third-floor hallway, and into the elevator shafts, causing the elevators to be shut down until an elevator technician inspects them for safe operation.
There were no injuries in this fire. The Red Cross was called to assist one adult male who was displaced by the fire.
This fire is a good reminder that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), almost two-thirds of home cooking fires start on ranges or cooktops. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. As we enter the holidays, keep these NFPA kitchen and cooking safety tips in mind:
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
- Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- For a grease or oil fire, keep a lid nearby when you are cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on an oil or grease fire.
- If you choose to fight the fire, make sure others are evacuating and calling 9-1-1 or the local emergency number, and you have a clear way to evacuate.
- If you choose to not fight the fire or the fire is too big, and you need to evacuate, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
For more kitchen and cooking safety tips, visit nfpa.org.