Four men have been temporarily displaced after a cooking-related fire set their apartment kitchen ablaze over the weekend.
City fire inspector Kent Mitchell said Charlottetown fire crews responded to the incident, which took place inside a four-unit building on 254 St. Peters Rd., shortly after 12 p.m. on Jan. 23. But by the time they got there the fire had already been extinguished by one of the tenants - a decision which Mitchell doesn't necessarily recommend.
"Although he did a great job, I would recommend calling 911 immediately."
The tenant was just waking up when he smelled smoke coming from the kitchen. He discovered that a pot or pan containing grease on the kitchen stove had been left unattended, causing a fire to start and spread.
"It was just above the stove and it extended into the cupboard space," Mitchell said. "But he had his fire extinguisher and he was able to extinguish it himself."
No injuries were reported, and Canadian Red Cross volunteers helped all four men with emergency lodging and purchases of winter clothing and food. Mitchell anticipates it could be a few weeks before the damage to their apartment is repaired and they can return.
Charlottetown has seen a recent spike in cooking-related fires. In the last 24 days there have been ten incidents, which Mitchell finds troublesome.
"Since Friday, we've had five," he said on Jan. 25. "Don't leave something unattended in the kitchen."
He notes that the St. Peters Road tenant should have, if safe, closed the kitchen door and gotten himself and others to leave the building. The National Fire Protection Association reports that half of fire-related injuries are caused when someone tries to put out the fire themselves, Mitchell said.