Eastside Fire Cause: Unattended Cooking

January 22, 2010

City of Madison Fire Investigators say last night's duplex fire that displaced five occupants was caused by unattended cooking.

Occupants reported seeing flames rising from a pan on the stove where grease was being heated. One occupant, asleep at the time, awoke after choking on smoke from the fire. She alerted several family members while another occupant ran to the second floor of the two-story unit to alert his sister. Smoke alarms sounded as the family evacuated. No one was injured, though paramedics treated two people for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Firefighters were dispatched to 2027 Vondron Road at 6:40 p.m. yesterday. Engine Company 5 arrived to find the home filled with heavy black smoke, and flames coming through a sliding glass door at the rear of the structure.

Firefighters had the fire under control within 20 minutes of their arrival. They were able to contain the fire to the side of the duplex where the fire is believed to have started. The other side suffered only light smoke damage. The occupants of that unit were not home when the fire started.

The damage estimate is now set at $150,000, with heavy fire damage to the first floor of the two-story unit. The Red Cross - Badger Chapter assisted the family. No renters' insurance was noted.

The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
•Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires (150,200 annually) and home fire injuries.
•Be on alert! Don't cook if you are sleepy.
•Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave, turn off the stove.
•If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
•Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.
•Never use the stove or oven for storage.

If you have a cooking fire:
•Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
•Call 9-1-1 after you leave.
•If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
•Keep a lid nearby when you're 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.
•For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, 608-266-5947