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.
Not only are kitchens the most common place for fires in homes to start, he said, the number one cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Aubrey 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 March 26, Langford crews were called to a house in the 900-block of Bray Avenue just after 10 p.m. The homeowner returned home to find a fire in his kitchen and managed to knock down the flames with an extinguisher before calling 9-1-1.
The man had put a pot of oil on the stove, forgotten about it and went out to meet some friends, Aubrey said.
“I think he was going to cook some fish.” The homeowner arrived just in time, Aubrey added, otherwise it could have been a really bad situation. “He was concerned the fire may have gone up into the attic.”
The damage to the home was estimated at about $50,000.
The incident came a week after a house fire about a block away on Knotty Pine Road, where unattended cooking wasn’t the cause. However, the fire did originate in the kitchen, Aubrey said. An overheated coffee maker was left plugged in while a family member was called away from the home.
A neighbour walking by saw the smoke and called the fire department. Damage to the exterior of the home was limited, but crews didn’t fully realize the extent of the fire until they were able to get inside the home.
“It was so hot it actually burned through the floor to the level below,” Aubrey said. While damage was mostly confined to the kitchen, he said, repairs to the home are still estimated to take between six to eight months.
The damage was estimated at $150,000 and 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. He stressed the importance of checking detectors regularly.