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Second fire within a week also caused by unattended stove

A cooking fire in Morrisroe did between $3,000 and $5,000 worth of damages on Thursday evening.

Fire prevention officer Wes Van Bavel said a pot left unattended on a stove in a basement suite kitchen started the fire.

Bavel said a resident was reheating oil in a pot when he went outside to chat with a roommate.

“Thankfully it was a minor fire but it was once again one of our most common residential fires,” said Bavel. “It was unattended cooking, which is the No. 1 leading (cause of) fires in Red Deer and North America.”

Bavel said the more the oil is used, the more it breaks down and reaches its ignition temperature. This was the second time the oil was used.

When the residents noticed the smoke and went back into the building, they threw a bunch of wet clothing from the laundry hamper onto the burning fire and pot.

Bavel said they realized the smoke was too much and then they went back outside and called 911.

“When they went in, it was down lower, somewhat OK,” said Bavel. “Because normally a couple minutes in a smoke-filled room, you’re probably not coming out. They were lucky because of the way the smoke was venting out of the basement.”

Bavel said they do not recommend putting water on a fire nor do they recommend going back into the house. He said in this case the wet clothing likely saved the whole house.

He reminds homeowners and tenants to ensure they have working smoke alarms. In this case, there two non-working alarms in the building.

“If this fire occurred in the middle of the night, the chances of anyone waking up is slim,” he said. “When you go to sleep, your sense of smell decreases. Of course, one of the main byproducts of a fire is carbon dioxide, which we call the silent killer. ... The only friend you have when you are sleeping in the event of an emergency is that smoke alarm.”

The damage was limited to the stove and ceiling.

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