Owner of St. Felix bungalow damaged by fire had left pan of oil on stove, wrongly assuming he'd turned it off
© Guardian file photo
fire department first responders
TIGNISH -- A bungalow in St. Felix sustained extensive smoke and heat damage Friday night from a fire that started in a pan of cooking oil.
Tignish Fire Chief Harley Perry said the owner was about to cook a pan of french fries when he received a call to go over to a neighbour’s residence. “He had just put some cooking oil in a pan on his stove and turned it on,” Perry related, indicating the owner thought he had shut the stove off before leaving his home.
When he returned about a half-hour later, however, he discovered the door to his home was hot. A blast of smoke hit him as he started to open the door, so he closed it up and called for assistance.
Perry said the fire had burned itself out before the fire department arrived and he suspects it might have smothered itself even before the owner opened the door.
“If he had opened it when the fire was going, he would have lost everything, for sure,” Perry suggested.
Furnishings and appliances in the kitchen area melted from the heat and there was smoke and heat damage throughout.
Perry said the fire department did not have to apply any water at the scene but helped exhaust smoke from the house. He suggested the small bungalow is salvageable but will require extensive repairs before it is inhabitable again. He said the owner indicated he was carrying insurance on the property.
The St. Felix page was the second one the Tignish Fire Department received within two minutes Friday evening.
Perry said firefighters were just arriving at the fire hall to respond to a report of a house in Nail Pond filling with smoke when the page came in about the St. Felix incident. He said five fire fighters were sent to Nail Pond and 10 responded to St. Felix.
In Nail Pond it was determined that the cap on the flue had become dislodged and blocked the opening at the top of the flue, causing smoke to back up into the basement.
Firefighters were able to clear the blockage and helped exhaust smoke from the house.
The department also received two calls in close order during Sunday’s snowstorm. The fire trucks were just about to turn back into the fire hall Sunday morning after responding to a flue fire when they were dispatched to a medical call. With the storm at its peak, Perry said the department needed the assistance of snowplows to get to both calls.