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No injuries reported in retirement center kitchen fire

By:  Shelley Terry - Star Beacon

ASHTABULA - - A toaster oven fire smoked out residents Tuesday morning in the assisted living area of Country Club Retirement Center.

City firefighters received the call at 7:16 a.m., and arrived at 7:20 a.m., at 925 E. 26th St. to find a smoke-filled kitchen in the assisted-living section of the complex. The dining room also had smoke inside, said Lt. Ronald Pristera of the Ashtabula Fire Department. The fire was out, but smoke remained, and no one was injured, he said.

"A toaster oven was on the counter in the kitchen with burnt plastic trays sitting on top of it," Pristera said. "We removed the smoldering toaster oven to the outside of the building and began ventilation with a fan." All of the residents in the assisted living complex had been evacuated and moved to the main building when firefighters arrived on the scene.

Fire damage was limited to the toaster oven and kitchen counter top, for a total of about $1,000, according to the fire department report. Smoke damage occurred in the kitchen and dining room area of the building.

The Country Club Retirement staff member who extinguished the blaze said she heard the fire alarm and then went to check the alarm panel. The panel showed a fire in the kitchen, so she carried a fire extinguisher with her to the kitchen. She then discharged the extinguisher on the fire, putting it out.

The firefighters cleared the scene at 7:48 a.m., the report said.

Firefighters provided the following tips for preventing kitchen fires:

- If a pan catches fire, put a lid on it and turn off the burner. Never pour water on a grease fire; it will spread.

- Keep oven or microwave door closed if fire starts.

- Wear close-fitting sleeves when cooking.

- Turn pot handles toward center of stove so they aren't knocked off.

- Heat oil slowly. It can flash.

- Teach children safe cooking.

- Always unplug toaster ovens after use.

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