Grease fire forces Colwood family out of home

Three generations of a family and three tenants have been displaced after a early Wednesday morning grease fire in a Colwood home.

Fire investigators say a pot of oil used for deep frying burst into flames and lit part of the kitchen on fire.

“The fire was contained to the kitchen and did move into the roof, but that was quickly contained,” said Colwood assistant fire chief John Cassidy. “It has been concluded it was from unattended cooking.”

Cassidy said the stove wasn't left unwatched very long before fire crawled from the pot to the wall and kitchen cabinets.

“Even a minute can make a difference,” he said. “It wasn’t the method of cooking, it came down to unattended cooking. It wasn’t smoldering away for hours. The person had just left the room.”

One of the homeowners was in the process of knockign down the blaze with an extinguisher when firefighters arrived.

Jana LeLievre lives in the home with her 20-month-old son and her parents. The family also rents out the basement suite. Everyone, including a cat, escaped the house unharmed, although the LeLievre family was checked out at the hospital.

“It burned up my kitchen,” LeLievre said Wednesday morning. “We are all OK but we are still coughing from the smoke.”

Colwood Fire Rescue and View Royal Fire Rescue attended the 1:45 a.m. call at Sue Mar Place.

The LeLievre family met with its insurance company Wednesday to see if they will be able to return to the home. Damage is estimated at $30,000 to $40,000.

The occupants of the home are being helped by emergency social services. They are currently staying in a hotel.

“It does look like there were no working smoke detectors,” Cassidy said. “It would have made a better scenario if there were, it would have notified people sooner and they would have gotten out of the house sooner.”

He also noted the homeowners wisely didn’t use water on the grease fire, which “would have caused an explosion an order of magnitude more significant.”

Video donated by Dale Kroppmanns

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