Incident Type: 
Wednesday, December 14, 2022 - 7:53am
Wednesday, December 14, 2022 - 7:57am
3700 block E. Karstens Drive
Madison, WI

Firefighters emphasize the importance of having working smoke alarms and closing your door before going to sleep following a fire on the north side.

Early Wednesday morning, occupants on the 3700 block of E. Karstens Drive prepared chicken on the stove top in a saucepan filled with cooking oil. They turned off the stove and left the pan in place on the burner. One adult went to work and the other went to lie down in the bedroom with her two young children. One of the children got up to grab a drink. During that time, it is believed the child turned one of the knobs on the stove, believing it was similar to a toy they have that contains knobs. The knob corresponded to the burner containing the pot of oil. The child came back to bed, the door was closed, and approximately ten minutes later the family awoke to the sound of their smoke detector.

All three occupants safely escaped the apartment, and 911 was called. Medic 10 arrived on location and were met with heavy smoke and heat inside the apartment unit. They found and extinguished fire on top of the kitchen cabinets above the stove. Engine Co. 3 brought an attack line inside and sprayed additional water on the areas that were most burned to ensure a fire would not reignite. Crews remained on site to ventilate the apartment and continue to keep an eye out for hot spots.

The smoke and heat damage throughout the home was extensive. Investigators credit the closed bedroom door for the family's survival. They remind everyone to remember the motto, “Close before you doze,” because a closed door will protect you from smoke and toxic gases, which is especially important if you are sleeping. Also have a working smoke detector inside your bedroom and another one outside your bedroom, within six feet of the bedroom door. Additionally, households with small children are encouraged to install child-proof stove knob covers available for purchase at local retailers and online.

There were no injuries to occupants or firefighters during this incident. Two households are displaced as a result of fire, heat, or smoke damage. The American Red Cross is assisting a total of eight displaced occupants. Initial damage estimates are around $100,000.

Posted 12/15/2022 - 9:34am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)