BEND, Ore. - A cooking fire caused about $3,000 damage to a northeast Bend apartment Sunday evening – but if residents hadn't heard the smoke alarm sound, it could have been a lot worse, officials said.
Firefighters responded shortly before 6 p.m. to the Shadow Butte Apartments at 1259 NE Purcell Blvd. on a report of smoke coming from an upper floor of the building, said Capt. Karl Findling.
Crews arrived to find there had been a fire in the kitchen of a unit, but that the occupants had put it out before police or fire arrived, Findling said. Police assisted in evacuating the occupants, he added.
Working fire alarms alerted the occupants, who were on another floor, to the fire. Damage was confined to the stove top and cabinets, with losses estimated at $2,000 to the building and $1,000 to the contents.
Findling said the fire was found to have been caused by an unattended cooking pan with over-heated oil. The residents had left the first floor and left the burner on, which continued to heat the remaining cooking oil. It ignited and spread to the upper cabinets, he said.
Fire officials remind everyone to turn off any burner immediately after removing food from the stove. Findling also noted that hot oil is very thin and of high temperature, which can cause severe burns if you try to pick up and remove it from the stove top.
Officials recommend a proper fitting lid for each cooking device left on or near the stop, as well as a working fire extinguisher on each floor of the house. They also remind you to keep combustibles away from cooking areas so they cannot be heated inadvertently.
But in this case, Findling said, working smoke alarms alerted the occupants to the fire, providing them the time to escape, as well as saving the apartment from more extensive damage.