Langford Fire Rescue is reminding residents to be extra vigilant in the kitchen after two recent house fires.
“We don’t want your smoke alarm to remind you there’s something on the stove,” said assistant chief Chris Aubrey. He added the number one cause of house fires is the kitchen and the number one cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
He recommended setting a timer as a reminder and warned residents to stay in the kitchen while cooking – even if the hockey game is on in the other room.
On Easter weekend Langford crews were called to a home in the 900-block of Bray Avenue just after 10 p.m. Aubrey said the homeowner came home to find a fire in his kitchen and managed to knock down the flames with an extinguisher before calling 9-1-1. “He was concerned the fire may have gone up into the attic.”
The homeowner had put a pot of oil on the stove, forgotten about it and went out to meet some friends. “I think he was going to cook some fish,” Aubrey added the homeowner came home just in time, otherwise it could have been a really bad situation.
The department estimated the damage to be about $50,000.
This incident came on the heels of another house fire a week prior about a block away on Knotty Pine Road. Although, Aubrey noted that was not a case of unattended cooking but the fire did originate in the kitchen.
In that case, the fire was caused by an overheated coffee maker that had been left plugged in while a family member was called away from the home. A neighbour walking by saw the smoke and called fire crews. Damage to the exterior of the home was limited, and Aubrey said crews didn’t initially realize the extent of the fire until they were able to get inside.
“It was so hot it actually burned through the floor to the level below,” he said. While most of the damage was confined to the kitchen area, he said repairs to the home are still estimated to take between six to eight months. The damage was estimated at $150,000 and unfortunately the family’s dog perished in the fire. No other members of the family were home at the time.
Aubrey said crews believe the smoke detectors in the home were not working properly and stressed the importance of checking detectors regularly.