A fourth fire in a month caused by unattended cooking, fire department says

Friday, October 19, 2007 | 5:37 p.m. CDT; updated 12:46 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — A Friday morning fire in a central Columbia apartment was the fourth fire in a month caused by unattended cooking, according to the Columbia Fire Department.

“We just have to pay attention when we’re cooking,” said Battalion Chief Steve Sapp. “It just takes a couple of minutes for things to go terribly wrong.”

The blaze started shortly after 10 a.m. in the kitchen of an apartment at 306 Park Ave., the Missourian previously reported. At least four Fire Department fire trucks responded to the call, finding smoke pouring out of the front door of the apartment. Firefighters were able extinguish the fire, which started when the 25-year-old woman in the home left a frying fish unattended. The fire started on the stove and spread to the refrigerator, counter and floor after the resident poured a glass of water on it, causing $5,000 damage to the apartment, Sapp said. No one was injured in the blaze.

Sapp said there are usually one to two fires caused by unattended cooking each month in Columbia, compared with four in the past month. The fires have caused more than $100,000 in damage. The Fire Department said unattended cooking fires can be avoided by never leaving cooking unattended and making sure burners are turned off after cooking. Water should never be thrown on a cooking fire. Instead, the fire should be extinguished by covering it with a lid.

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