Cooking fire at Edmonds apartment complex displaces two families

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A cooking fire caused more than $80,000 damage and displaced seven people from two units at an Edmonds apartment complex this morning.

The fire was reported around 10:20 a.m. at a 36-unit, two-story apartment complex in the 7400 block of 208th Street Southwest, just south of College Place Middle School. “A woman in a second-floor apartment reported hearing a pop, then seeing the glow from flames in her kitchen. She and her 2-year-old daughter safely exited and asked neighbors to call 9-1-1,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1, which provides fire and emergency medical services in Edmonds.

Firefighters from Fire District 1 and Lynnwood Fire Department responded. “Heavy smoke was coming from the roof and flames were shooting out a back window of the second-floor apartment when our crews arrived,” Hynes said.

Firefighters had the fire under control within 10 minutes. No one was injured.

The apartment where the fire started was heavily damaged and the unit below sustained heavy water damage. Both apartments are uninhabitable. Red Cross responded to assist the woman and 2-year-old displaced from the second-floor unit where the fire started and a family of five displaced from the first-floor unit. Neither family has insurance.

Investigators determined the fire was started by oil left heating unattended on the stovetop. Cooking fires are the number-one cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires.

Fire District 1 offers these cooking safety tips:
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
• Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
•  If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire:
• Get out of the house. When you leave, close the door behind you to contain the fire.
• Call 9-1-1 after you leave.
• Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. Never try to carry a flaming pan – you can get burned in the process and spread the fire as you carry the pan through the house.
• For an over fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

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