Staff Reports

A woman escaped a house fire in Columbus after a smoke alarm alerted her to flames in the kitchen.

At 11:47 a.m. Saturday, firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire at 701 Glendale Drive in Wehmeier Addition. When they arrived, they found the sole occupant at a neighbor’s home, according to a news release.

Sharon Ellis, 73, told firefighters she had turned on the gas-powered oven and then walked to another room in the 1,000-square-foot, single-story home. She returned to the kitchen to see if the oven had reached full temperature.

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After discovering that the oven was still warming, Ellis said she returned to the living area of the home, but a few minutes later she heard a smoke alarm sounding. Ellis told firefighters that when she walked into the kitchen, she saw the oven was on fire and flames were burning up to the ceiling, the news release said.

Ellis, who has lived in the house since 1981, escaped through a rear door located near the kitchen and sought shelter at a neighbor’s home. The neighbors assisted Ellis to safety and called 911, the news release stated.

Firefighters applied water to flames shooting through the kitchen windows and to the exterior of the home. They encountered a large amount of debris as they crawled through the front of the home, which made reaching the home’s kitchen difficult.

When they arrived, they found the fire had been significantly reduced by the application of water. Crews removed sections of the ceiling to extinguish fire that had extended into the attic.

Columbus Fire Department investigators ruled the cause of the fire an accident due to cooking.

Ellis sustained burns from falling debris when she escaped home. She was evaluated by Columbus Regional Health ambulance personnel at the scene but declined to be transported to the hospital, the release stated.

No firefighters were injured, officials said.

Damages to the home and contents are estimated at $45,000. Ellis stated that she rents the home but does not have renters insurance. The local American Red Cross agency assisted Ellis with emergency shelter.

Columbus Regional Heath EMS, Columbus Police Department, Duke Energy and Vectren Energy assisted at the scene.