Unattended cooking cause $80,000 in fire damage

St. Catharines Fire Department CrestCity of St. Catharines press release – Acting Fire Chief Jeff McCormick is urging residents to be especially careful when cooking and storing combustibles near their cooking appliances after two kitchen fires on Sunday, Dec. 9/2018.

“We urge residents to always attend to their cooking, keep combustible storage and materials away from the stove and always have working smoking alarms to warn occupants of a fire emergency,” said the acting fire chief. “Careless cooking is a leading cause of house fires over the holidays in Ontario and we are reminding everyone to be careful when cooking.”

A four-year-old was taken to hospital for observation as precaution due to smoke inhalation after a cooking fire at 101 Shakespeare Ave. in the early hours of Sunday morning. St. Catharines firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, which began in the basement at the property. The subsequent fire investigation determined the cause to be unattended cooking involving a pot of oil. The total cost of damage is estimated at $80,000.

“We urge residents to stay fire-safe over the holidays by making sure they have working smoke alarms and working carbon monoxide alarms,” said the acting fire chief. “Working smoke alarms are proven to save lives and are required by law.”

McCormick reminds residents to stay in the kitchen while cooking and never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen area, he urges you to turn off the stove or take a pot holder or spatula as a reminder of the cooking.

“If you are cooking you should be looking.”

Firefighters quickly extinguished a second kitchen fire in the main floor unit at 24 Ottawa St. on Sunday, Dec. 9. A fire investigation into the blaze determined possible accidental contact with the control knobs on the front of the stove turned on the burners and ignited combustibles left on top of the stove. Damage to the home is estimated at $5,000. No injuries were reported: all of the occupants were out of the house at the time of the fire. The property had working smoke alarms.

“Keep your stove top clear at all times,” said the acting fire chief. “Keep anything that can burn, such as groceries, dish towels, pot holders, and recycling, away from your stove and always make sure burners are off and control knobs are in the off position when not in use and when you leave the home.”

The acting fire chief offers the following fire safe cooking tips: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using appliances; Turn handles toward the centre of the stove when cooking on the stove top; If a pot catches fire, turn off the burner and slide a lid over the pot; Don’t move burning pots.

Call 9-1-1 should you require fire emergency assistance.

Visit www.stcatharines.ca/SafeAtHome for more home safety and fire safety tips.