Tenant treated for smoke inhalation after kitchen fire in Bridgewater

by Keith Corcoran

An apartment tenant was taken to hospital for assessment and treatment after a fire ignited inside a Dominion Street unit in Bridgewater during the early morning hours of August 9.

The injured man was a downstairs tenant who'd ventured upstairs to help his neighbour extinguish the fire that broke out in his kitchen around 2 a.m.

It's believed the injured man was treated and released from hospital.

The tenant of the apartment where the incident occurred was in the process of preparing french fries and temporarily stepped away from a frying pan containing cooking oil, said Michael Nauss, fire chief of Bridgewater's volunteer fire department.

The small fire was put out with an extinguisher retrieved from a hallway but not before smoke damage impacted the kitchen, dining room and two bedrooms. There was also scorching of cabinets above the stove, Nauss told LighthouseNOW. The appliance is also considered a total loss.

There were no other injuries. The tenant, the sole occupant of the damaged apartment, was temporarily displaced until the unit could be cleaned. Nauss believed there is insurance coverage on the unit.

The two tenants living in the downstairs unit returned after leaving for the night. Their apartment didn't sustain damage, Nauss said.

Volunteer firefighters used ventilation equipment to pull smoke out of the impacted unit, and examined inside the apartment to ensure fire hadn't extended into the walls or attic space, which it didn't. Emergency crews cleared the scene around 4 a.m.

The fire service frequently - and typically during annual fire prevention week events - speaks to the hazards and risks associated with unattended cooking and deep-frying on a range.

The results can be devastating, suggested Nauss. Some Bridgewater residents have seen their homes destroyed, or severely gutted, due to similar circumstances.

"Deep frying oil on a hot stove in a frying pan is not a good thing to do," Nauss emphasized to LighthouseNOW, indicating such cooking needs to be done in an approved appliance designed for the use.

"Never leave hot oil unattended," the fire chief added. "Always ensure you're in the area to keep and eye on it."

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