WESTERLY — A Saturday night cooking fire at a Watch Hill house proved costly for homeowners, with the flames extending into an attic area above the stove and causing nearly $5,000 in damage, according to fire officials.
Watch Hill Fire Chief Robert Peacock said firefighters, assisted by mutual aid from Misquamicut and Westerly, were called to a home at 20 Foster Cove Road around 9:15 p.m. Saturday with a report of a possible structure fire. Peacock said it was quickly determined that the fire erupted at the kitchen stove and had spread into the upper cabinets, extending into the attic above.
“The occupants were not injured and will be able to remain in the home while repairs are made,” Peacock said in a press release. “The fire was determined to be the result of popcorn oil being heated on the stove, which flashed and ignited the walls and cabinets above the stove before spreading into the attic.”
Despite the fast spread, early notification and a quick response from volunteers helped lead to the fire being extinguished within about 10 minutes. The blaze caused a light smoke condition in the home that was cleared through the evening.
In all, Peacock said the department estimates that the blaze would have caused approximately $5,000 in damage to the home.
For members of the department, the fire was just one of three that occurred in the Watch Hill area on Saturday as a result of cooking-related issues. Peacock said volunteers responded to two grease fires as well, one involving a grill.
“Fortunately, the others were confined to the cooking containers and only resulted in light smoke throughout the homes,” he said.
When it comes to cooking, the National Fire Protection Association recommend that chefs “keep an eye when they fry,” and never leave a pan unattended, especially when using oils or keeping the stove hot. The organization warns to heat oils slowly to prevent flashing and to always have a cover ready to help contain cooking fires.
If a fire does occur, residents are urged to notify 911 and evacuate the home, closing doors behind them to limit draft and prevent the spread of flames.
“If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are safely getting out and be sure you have a clear way out in case you cannot get the fire out,” the organization warns.
For more on cooking-fire safety, visit nfpa.org.