Columbus house fire damages kitchen

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A residential kitchen fire on Christmas Eve caused about $30,000 in damage but no injuries as the homeowner escaped with her dog.

Columbus Fire Department was called to 5118 Imperial Drive at 12:33 p.m. Saturday after Dorothy Christophel, the owner, discovered a fire in the single-story home’s kitchen.

Christophel told investigators that she had been baking and smelled smoke while she was in another area of the home. As she returned to the kitchen, she noticed smoke coming from a kitchen cabinet. Christophel said that when she opened the cabinet drawer she encountered flames from within. She closed the drawer and exited the home with her dog. Christophel told investigators that the home’s smoke alarms had activated during the event, said Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived on the scene within minutes and found Christophel and her dog safely outside the residence.

The first-arriving unit radioed to responding crews that thick smoke was pushing from the residence. As the firefighters made entry, they encountered low visibility due to smoke conditions inside the home. Carrying a water supply line and a thermal imaging camera, the entry team surveyed the interior, trying to find the location of the fire. They found a heat signature about 20 feet from where they had entered the residence. After a quick application of water the fire was extinguished and damage was contained to the kitchen, Wilson said.

As additional responders arrived, they set large ventilation fans to aid in clearing smoke from the home.

Firefighters surveyed the damage and noted that kitchen cabinets adjacent to the stove were heavily damaged by fire. These cabinets were located below the counter top. Firefighters noted little damage to the exterior of the stove and no damage to the interior of the stove. Firefighting water damage was present within the kitchen. Smoke damage was present throughout the home, Wilson said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Christophel told firefighters that she will be staying with family for the time being, Wilson said.

Columbus Police Department, Columbus Regional Health EMS, REMC and Bartholomew County Fire Investigators assisted at the scene.