Officials: Skillet of bacon causes house fire

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Some slow-cooking bacon left on a stove caused a fire that ripped through a downtown home Tuesday morning, fire officials said. No one was injured in the fire.

Capital City Fire & Rescue workers received a call around 9:53 a.m. for a house fire on Alder Street downtown. About 22 firefighters arrived to find smoke belching from the ridge vent on the roof and a from a street-level window of the two-story home, Capt. Pete Hettinger said in a press release.

Training officer John George said the fire was in the kitchen, but the home filled with smoke.

"There was smoke all the way to the floor," he said. "We extinguished that (kitchen) fire. We checked out the second story. Typically fire gasses travel up and they can actually get hot enough to ignite and start another fire. On this occasion, it was actually getting close enough to do that."

Firefighters punched holes in the roof and broke out a second-story window to release the gas and smoke.

"It's called vertical ventilation," George said. "Not only does it get the smoke out, but it also further reduces heat damage to the home."

The fire was out by 10:35 a.m. George did not have an estimate of damage and Hettinger did not return calls from the Empire.

The homeowner told officials he had bacon cooking over a low heat on the stove when he left the house, Hettinger said in the recorded press release. Hettinger said he believed that was the cause of the fire.

Homeowners Kim Hutchison and Annie Stokes declined comment.

George said it is important for people to realize that even small fires can get out of hand quickly.

"Relatively small fires can produce an extreme amount of heat," George said. "Alaska's got the highest fire-fatality rate in the nation. ... That's why we stress people get smoke detectors, test them and regularly replace the batteries."

Melanie Plenda can be reached

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