Central Emergency Services extinguished a kitchen fire minutes after the call came from a Soldotna apartment complex Monday evening.
CES responded to a 911 call from a female resident who reported the fire in her unit at Redoubt View Apartments on West Redoubt Street shortly after 7 p.m.
Firefighters evacuated the building and put out the fire in six minutes, before it had a chance to spread from the bottom floor apartment through the three-story complex, said Brad Nelson, CES health and safety officer.
An investigation determined the fire was started by a resident who was cooking at the stove when grease caught fire and spread to the cabinets, up the hood fan system and ceiling, he said. The apartment’s smoke alarm did not work, but the woman quickly called 911 and informed other residents to evacuate, he said.
Nelson said if firefighters arrived only a couple minutes later, the blaze would have been a completely different story.
“We would have been chasing the fire for hours if it spread into the walls,” he said. “It could have been catastrophic.”
After putting out the fire, crews removed sheetrock from the walls and used a thermal imaging camera to make sure the fire didn’t spread any further, he said.
CES remained on scene for an hour to ventilate the building and ensure it was safe for people to return.
No one was injured and damage to the building is estimated at $5,000, he said.
As a safety precaution Nelson said people should check their smoke detectors and test them once a month and change out the batteries at least once a year.
“We usually put the message out there to check smoke alarms and this is another good example why having a working one is vital,” he said.
Reach Dan Balmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.