1 injured in kitchen fire at townhome

BROOKINGS – One person was injured in a kitchen fire Monday night, according to the Brookings Fire Department.

The fire was reported at 9:22 p.m. Monday and occurred at 1806 12th St. S., unit 7, Fire Chief Pete Bolzer said, adding crews were on scene for an hour and 25 minutes.

“It was called in as a kitchen fire (in a townhome),” Bolzer said.

“Our first unit on the scene reported that the kitchen was completely involved. The guys made a pretty aggressive interior attack and they held the fire damage to the kitchen area, but because those units are open-floor plan concept, there’s water and heavy smoke damage throughout the first story, and moderate smoke damage to the second story,” Bolzer said.

The townhomes are two-level units, he added.

“The occupant of the (townhouse) was seen at the scene by the ambulance for burns on a hand and foot,” Bolzer said, 

The cause of the fire was “cooking related,” he said.

Bolzer had two tips if you have a cooking-related fire.

“Tip No. 1: do not try to extinguish it with water. That just makes the fire worse,” he said, adding baking soda “works very well” to extinguish fires.

“Tip No. 2: don’t try to remove the burning pan. Turn the burner off and put a lid on it,” Bolzer said.

Bolzer said people have been “doing a really good job” keeping incidents to a minimum and he asks everyone to keep being careful.

“It’s too hot for this stuff,” he said. 

The area is under a heat advisory for the next couple of days, which makes fighting fires even more dangerous.

No firefighters were injured at the townhouse fire, but they were “hot and sweaty,” Bolzer reported.

 “We do appreciate all of the people in the neighborhood that delivered drinking water to the firefighters,” Bolzer said.

“It seems like a very small gesture, but in weather conditions like these, it’s very important for them to start replacing fluids as soon as they can. That simple act right there keeps them out of the hospital,” Bolzer said.

“Normally, we’ve been finding out with temperatures and weather like this, people are dehydrated before they get to the scene, so it’s only worse when they start working in that heat,” Bolzer said.

“So, just a simple cold bottle of water can keep a firefighter out of the hospital,” Bolzer said.

The heat will exacerbate the drought conditions, as well, he added.

“The last drought map I saw, it shows we’re still in a drought situation. Our recent rainfalls in the last couple of weeks helped us out, but in weather like this, especially if we get any wind at all, it’s just gonna remove (moisture) from the topsoil,” Bolzer said.

“I think (the rain) bought us a little reprieve, but probably not for very long,” he warned.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]