CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A fire caused by an unattended pan on a stove is believed to have caused more than $100,000 in damages to an apartment building on Prospect Avenue, according to the Charlottesville Fire Department.
Crews responded to the multi-family apartment building a little before 9 p.m. Monday, March 24. None of the people who live at the apartments were injured, and several rescued pets are expected to be OK.
Nancy Taylor says she was alerted to the fire by smoke detectors screeching away.
“All of a sudden I realized, ‘wait a minute that is two smoke detectors going off, and they’ve been going off a little bit too long.’ So I jumped up and stuck my head out the door, and it was very very smoky,” Taylor said.
The fire extended through the wall behind the stove of a first-floor unit, and into the apartment above. A total of 17 people were displaced due to the fire or water damage, and are working with the Red Cross services.
03/23/2020 Release from the Charlottesville Fire Department:
Charlottesville, VA – On Monday, 03/23/2020, at 8:58 p.m. the Charlottesville Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the 700 block of Prospect ave resulting in major damage to a multi family apartment building. Upon arrival the crews found heavy fire and thick smoke on the first floor engulfing the stove and cabinets in one of the units. No civilians were injured, however one first responder was evaluated for smoke inhalation on scene. Two dogs and one cat were rescued from smoke filled apartments and are expected to be ok. The fire extended through the wall behind the stove and into the apartment above.
Seventeen occupants were displaced from fire or water damage to their units and are working with the Central Virginia Chapter of the Red Cross' disaster services to be relocated. Damages are estimated to be over $100,000.
Three engine companies, two aerial truck companies, one medic unit and two chief officers responded from the Charlottesville Fire Department. Additionally two engine companies from Albemarle County Fire Rescue responded and assisted with extinguishment. Five units from the Charlottesville Police Department also responded. All units cleared the scene at 11:55 p.m.
After an investigation, it was determined that an unattended pan on the stove overheated and started the fire. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), cooking is the primary cause of home fires and fire injuries.
The USFA recommends theses steps to keep your family safe:
- Stand by your pan: If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off.
- Watch what you are cooking: Fires start when the heat is too high. If you see any smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove: Then no one can bump them or pull them over.
- Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby: Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire.