On Tuesday February 21, 2017, at approximately 6:30PM, the Prescott Regional Communications Center received a 911 call reporting smoke in a home on Prescott’s north side. The caller reported not knowing where the smoke was coming from but that they were looking while evacuating. A second call from the home reported flames seen in the kitchen. The dispatcher advised them to evacuate the home and wait for firefighters to arrive. The dispatch center upgraded the response from a possible structure fire to a working structure fire which includes 3 Engine Companies, a Truck Company, as well as a Battalion Chief, a Support truck, Prescott Police and Life Line Ambulance were dispatched. En-route, the information was updated to say that the caller had reentered the home and that the dispatch center had lost contact with them.
The first arriving engine company reported nothing showing from an approximately 1500 square foot home and that both occupants were out of the home. The occupants notified us that they saw flames in the kitchen and discharged a fire extinguisher and that they thought the fire was out. Upon entering the home, medium smoke was encountered. Crews were able to confirm that the flames were extinguished but found fire damage and heat in the kitchen cabinets and the wall behind the cabinets. The wall behind the cabinets was breached to assure that the fire has not made its way into any concealed spaces. It was found that the damage was contained to the kitchen cabinets and a toaster that was in an appliance garage.
Fans were set up to evacuate the smoke from the home while crews moved kitchen cabinet contents to a safe area and assured that there was no more heat in the fire area. Emergency units were on the scene for approximately 2 hours while cleaning up, removing smoke, and investigating the fire.
The investigation determined that the cause of the fire was that the toaster, stored in the appliance garage, had been turned on when the door of the appliance garage was pulled down onto its switch. The toaster then stayed on long enough to heat up the contents of the cabinet causing the fire.
There were no injuries to residents or emergency personnel on this incident. Damage is estimated at $5,000 to the $200,000 home. The fire damage was limited due to the quick action of the resident that called 911 as soon as they noticed a problem, and by the homeowner using a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire.
Every home should have a fire extinguisher in the area of the kitchen as this home did. The extinguishers should either be replaced or serviced yearly to assure they will work when needed. Extinguishers that sit for long periods can have the contents settle and compact and not allow the extinguisher to work properly when needed. Fire extinguishers are meant to be used on fires when they are small, meaning that the fire can be approached while there is still fresh air at the users face level. Once smoke has come down to where you are breathing it in, it is too dangerous to remain in the home and you should evacuate and wait for fire units to arrive.
The house did have working smoke alarms that were sounding when fire department units arrived. Residents are encouraged to check their home smoke alarms, replace the batteries in them annually.
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