COLUMBIA — A cooking fire in a north Columbia duplex displaced three MU students Wednesday evening.
The students, who lived at 5119 Alpine Ridge Drive, were trying to make crab rangoons when the cooking oil caught fire, according to the residents.
“They attempted to put it out with a towel and baking soda and looked for a fire extinguisher,” said Gary Warren, Columbia Fire Department battalion chief.
When that didn’t work, one of the students called 911 and everyone evacuated.
In addition to the three women, two others were inside the unit when the fire started. All five occupants left the building without injuries.
As crews responded to the scene, smoke was visible from Derby Ridge Drive. City and county fire departments worked together to put out the fire, Warren said.
In addition to smoke damage, all of the siding from the unit burned off, and the fire spread to the attic. The damage was too extensive for the occupants to re-enter the unit Wednesday night.
“Nearly all of their belongings are lost,” Warren said.
The attached structure had no visible damage, but the siding on the adjacent duplex was partially melted.
Damage estimates weren't available as of the news deadline.
In a situation like this one, Warren said the appropriate response would be to turn the stove off, cover it and evacuate.
He also said it is important for people to have a fire extinguisher handy.
“Everyone should have an extinguisher,” he said. “There’s really no excuse.”