Cooking fire damages Keller Avenue home

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A local woman was injured as a result of a cooking fire Monday afternoon in the 1900 block of Keller Avenue.

Columbus firefighters were sent to 1904 Keller Ave. at 12:36 p.m. Monday on a report of a kitchen fire, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they reported heavy smoke coming from a single family home. Columbus Police officers, also on the scene, advised the arriving firefighters that all occupants of the home were out of the residence, Wilson said.

As firefighters prepared to enter the residence, a survey around the home revealed that a large amount of fire was visible at the rear of the residence, which was later identified as the home’s kitchen. Firefighters also found that flames near a gas service utility meter located on the exterior of structure.

When firefighters entered the home, they encountered high heat and heavy smoke, Wilson said.

As firefighters attempted to move toward the kitchen, they encountered a large amount of rubbish inside the residence that slowed firefighter movement. The large amount of combustible materials inside the home provided a heavy fuel load, which intensified flames until the firefighters could reach the home’s kitchen, Wilson said.

Firefighters outside applied water directly on to the home’s gas meter as the firefighters inside extinguished the fire and began checking for more fire within walls and the ceiling. Due to the intense heat inside the home, an additional team of firefighters went to the roof and cut ventilation holes to help expel the hot gases and heavy smoke from the home, Wilson said.

The fire was marked under control within 30 minutes of the arrival of firefighters on the scene.

The homeowner told firefighters that she had a pot of food cooking on her stove, when she briefly stepped way to get produce from her garden. The homeowner told investigators that, when she returned to the kitchen, she found the stove was on fire. The homeowner said that she attempted to put out the fire with kitchen towel but in attempting do so, sustained a minor burn injury. The homeowner was treated and released at the scene after declining to be transported to the hospital.

Columbus Fire Department investigators have ruled that the cause of the fire is accidental as a result of unattended cooking, Wilson said. Damage to the home’s interior was significant, with high heat and smoke damage visible throughout the home.

The property owner told investigators that the home is insured. No emergency shelter aid was requested at the scene. Damages to the home are estimated at $30,000, Wilson said. Agencies that assisted include the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Regional Health Ambulance Service, CenterPoint Energy, Bartholomew County Emergency Dispatch Center, Duke Energy and Columbus City Utilities.

The Columbus Fire Department reminds community members that cooking fires are one of the leading types of fires that occur in the United States. Unattended cooking is a leading contributing factor to a cooking fire in the home. The Columbus Fire Department suggests that cooking is monitored throughout the cooking process. We offer these safety tips to reduce the occurrence of an accidental cooking fire and increase safety in the event of a fire.

  • Stay in the kitchen if you are actively cooking on a stove top
  • Keep combustible items like towels, paper products and pot holders, away from a hot stove
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen, ensuring you can access it without placing yourself in harm’s way
  • If you can’t safety extinguish the fire, get out and call 9-1-1
  • Always have working smoke alarms inside your home

Plan and practice a home fire escape drill: Know two ways out of every room. Crawl on the floor to escape dangerous smoke. Have an outside safe meeting place designated for the entire family. Once you get out, stay out! Never return inside a burning building.