Firefighters say residents should double-check appliances before leaving home.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- After responding to five kitchen fires over four days, township firefighters are asking residents to be extra careful while using kitchen appliances.
The five fires occurred between Feb. 20 and Feb. 23 with combined losses of about $35,000. Fire Chief James Dorman said one-third of all fire-related calls answered by the department over the last two years have originated in the kitchen.
No one was injured in any of the five fires.
Stove left on: Lt. Jim McCreary said firefighters were called to the 3000 block of Hopkins Road just after 3 p.m. Feb. 20 for a fire that started in the kitchen of a home and spread to the living room, causing $30,000 in losses to a home valued at $65,000. He said a resident accidentally left a pot of chicken noodle soup cooking on the stove, then left the house.
"Leaving the house and leaving the stove on is probably one of the biggest problems," said McCreary. "If you have been using the stove it is important to go back and double-check that it is off."
In the three days after the Hopkins Road fire, firefighters answered calls involving smaller kitchen fires on Pearson Circle on Feb. 21, South Avenue on Feb. 22, and calls to Woodrow Avenue and Forest Garden Drive on Feb. 23.
A 12-year-old township boy may receive an award from township officials after he helped stop extensive damage at the fire on Woodrow Avenue. McCreary said the boy knocked on the door to the house, heard a fire alarm and notified his parents to call authorities. A short time later firefighters found a pot burning on the stove.
Precautions: According to McCreary, most kitchen fires can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. He said it is important to pay close attention when cooking especially with grease and do not leave towels, pot holders or napkins on or near the stove. The department has seen a number of fires started by decorations or utensils hanging above the stove, he said.
McCreary said it is also important not to wear loose fitting garments with hanging sleeves while cooking, keep long hair tied back and check inside the oven each time it is turned on. He said children often hide toys and things in the oven resulting in fires.
Officials say it is best to keep a class ABC fire extinguisher mounted in the kitchen. If there is no extinguisher, baking soda can be used to put out small grease fires, but do not use baking powder or water as it may spread the fire.