A fire that displaced nine families and left two people in the hospital earlier this month has been ruled an accident.
Fire investigators from the Renton Fire and Emergency Services Department, the Snohomish County Fire Marshals office, and representatives from a private cause and origin firm worked together to determine the cause of a fire at the Heritage Grove apartment complex on Sunset Boulevard earlier this month.
"The fire has been determined to be accidental, caused by someone in the apartment of origin who was cooking," Ted Hickey, Renton's Lead Fire Inspector said in an email to Renton Patch. Forensic examination of the stove, he said, showed that one of the burners was turned to the high setting during the time of the fire.
"Investigators also found evidence of frozen food being prepared on the kitchen counter next to the stove," he said. "All debris samples taken returned from the lab negative for ignitable liquids."
The blaze ripped through through the Heritage Grove Apartment complex in the 1100 block of Sunset Boulevard Northeast at 2:30 a.m. on June 10. Multiple agencies responded to the blaze, including Renton's ladder 11, engine 11, engine 12, engine 14, engine 16 and aid 12; Tukwila's engine 51; Skyway's engine 22 and aid 22; and ladder 74 out of Kent. The road remained closed to traffic for five hours. The Red Cross also responded and coordinated relief efforts for the families.
The fire caused more than $750,000 in damages, said Hickey.
Each year Renton Fire and Emergency Services responds to a large number of cooking related fires that cause hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal and property damage. More than 35 percent of the fire calls in Renton were cooking related in 2005, according to city statistics. This percentage is common throughout the country, Hickey said, adding that the National Fire protection Agency reports cooking as the leading cause of fires and fire related injuries in the United States.
The Renton Fire and Emergency Services Department urges everyone to take care in kitchen. Here are a few helpful safety tips to keep in mind:
- Never leave a burner on unattended.
- Always have a lid available for any cooking container.
- If a fire starts on the stove, place a lid on the cooking container and remove it from the burner.
- Never use water on a oil or grease fire.