Unattended cooking fire displaces family of four

POSTED: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 12:22pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 9:34pm

A Monday evening cooking fire has left a family of four homeless.

Temple Fire & Rescue responded the fire Monday, in the 2400 Block of Valley Forge Avenue.  The first Engine Company arrived to find moderate smoke coming from a downstairs apartment of a four unit apartment complex. Firefighters confirmed everyone was out of the apartment as they began an interior attack. Due to the potential for fire spreading to the other three apartment units and as a precaution, the incident commander requested a second alarm assignment sending two additional Engine companies and one Rescue Company on the call.

Fire investigation determined the fire was unintentional and started from unattended cooking. One of the adults cooking became distracted and forgot to turn off the stove prior to leaving the apartment. The kitchen sustained heavy fire damage with the living room, bedrooms and bathroom receiving smoke and heat damage. A dollar loss has not been calculated. The apartment was protected by working smoke alarms. There were no injuries. The American Red Cross is working with the two adults and two children to assist with their immediate needs

According to the U. S. Fire Administration (USFA) cooking equipment, most often a range or stovetop is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Temple Fire & Rescue along with USFA offer the following cooking tips:

• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicines that make you drowsy.
• Keep the stovetop clean and clear of items which can burn such as pot holders, towels and food packaging.
• Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid free-zone” of 36 inches around the stove.

Six Engine Companies, one Truck Company, one Rescue Company, one Fire Incident Commander, two support units; a total of 29 Temple Fire & Rescue personnel responded to the call. Temple Police, Scott & White EMS and Oncor Electric also responded. The call was dispatched at 6:17 p.m. The first unit arrived at 6:20 p.m. The second alarm was requested at 6:24 p.m., with an under control given at 6:39 p.m. The last unit cleared at 8:34 p.m.

Additional fire safety tips are available at U.S. Fire Administration’s website, www.usfa.fema.gov/


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