Cleveland Fire safety leaders have issued a warning about keeping watch on meals being cooked on a stove top after serious kitchen fires at the Olde Cedar and Rainbow Terrace Apartments in recent weeks.
The March 28 blaze at Rainbow Terrace Apartments gutted 33 units and left more than 60 people homeless.
Cleveland Fire Public Safety Officer Mike Norman said it's critical that residents keep a close watch while cooking, especially on meals prepared late at night or in the early morning hours.
"We remind people not to cook if they're tired, or not to cook if they've been consuming alcohol," said Norman.
Norman shared the following tips:
- If you're broiling food, boiling food or frying food, make sure to stay in the kitchen while cooking
- Never heat oil with the lid on. If there is a fire, you can cover it with the lid and turn the heat source off
- If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door closed and turn the heat source off
Norman shared News 5 Cleveland Fire Department statistics, which outlined kitchen fires as the leading cause of residential fires from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2017. Cleveland averaged 180 kitchen fires a year during that time period, causing nearly $5.4M in property damage.
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association indicated cooking equipment caused 47 percent of all home fires across the country.
Norman said it's also important for residents to use good judgment in knowing when to evacuate their home or apartment.
"If you have a fire that gets out of control, get out," said Norman. "Close the door on your way out to compartmentalize the fire to keep it in the kitchen and call us."