An unattended pot of boiling cooking oil flashed to flame late this afternoon at a home in Pacific Homes Beach Club off NE 32nd in Newport, and soon the whole modular home became a fireball.
An elderly couple, at 437 NE 32nd, was in another part of the home when a smoke alarm alerted them that there was a fire somewhere in the house. They walked in to the kitchen and saw the boiling oil fire igniting the kitchen cabinets. Both tried to put the fire out but by then it was too much for them. They grabbed the two dogs, called for the cat and immediately called the Newport Fire Department.
The fire department pulled up within a few minutes but the fire had gotten too much of a head start to save the home – not only the home but the attached garage.
Fire Chief Rob Murphy said his firefighters then turned their attention to the next door neighbors. Since their garage was attached to the garage of the burning home, it was already showing signs of igniting. Despite valiant efforts to save it the neighbor’s garage was also lost – but not the neighbor’s home. Firefighters managed to save it despite huge flames and intense heat.
After most of the fire was knocked down, firefighters cut their way into the neighbor’s outside wall that was exposed to the heat and flame to make sure the fire didn’t get inside the wall. Chief Murphy said they didn’t find any.
Chief Murphy said the couple were not injured and their two dogs are fine too. However, there were some anxious moments about the fate of their cat. A firefighter soon came around from the back of what was left of the home holding a sopping wet but quite-alive feline.
Chief Murphy said the moral of the story is that nothing should be left on a stove without somebody there to watch it – especially cooking oil. The lady of the house, he said, did not know that she had left the pot of oil on the burner.
Chief Murphy advises the public to also have the appropriate fire extinguisher for the kitchen at the ready in case something goes wrong. He said the homeowner appeared to have the right extinguisher but that the fire had already grown so large the woman just couldn’t keep up.
The one home and both garages, including their contents, were lost. But everybody got out okay. Both the fire victims and the neighbors have family in the area to take care of them until everything is sorted out.