Careless cooking causes close call for Centennial resident

Discover how a moment’s inattention while cooking injured a woman and damaged her home …

A firefighter, carrying an extra length of hose, races down the long driveway to reach the house, located in the back of a flag lot.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Fortunately for the residents of a house tucked away on the back of a “flag lot” in the Centennial Neighborhood, they are served by two great fire services – Portland Fire & Rescue and Gresham Fire Department. The combined prompt response saved that house from going up on flames on February 9.

The fire, at a home in the 2300 block of SE 156th Avenue, started in the kitchen, Battalion Chief C-3, Pat Davies, told us at the scene. “We just put out a stove fire, and we’re looking for fire extensions in the kitchen.”

A firefighter, with paramedic kit in hand, rushes to the aid of the homeowner.

Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Lt. Allen Oswalt told us, “The owner was ‘seasoning’ a cast iron pan with oil. She left it on the stove, with the burner on. She became distracted, and walked away from it.”

Although we’re told the woman didn’t suffer serious injuries, she was treated by firefighters – who are also trained as paramedics.

Providing immediate help for injured victims, the firefighter paramedics check to see if the homeowner needs a trip to the hospital.

“Too often,” Oswalt commented, “we’re called to fires that started because someone left a pot or pan on the stove and walked away from it. In moments, oil can overheat, and start a fire that quickly gets out of hand.”

In addition to paying attention while cooking, Oswalt stressed the importance of having working fire detectors in a house. “It can alert the residents in time to save major damages – or lives.”

Although the fire was small, investigators said the blaze nonetheless caused $10,000 damage.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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