A woman who fell asleep in her apartment on West Third Street was awakened by a high-pitched smoke alarm late Sunday evening just in time when a fire broke out in her kitchen, said City Fire Department chief Sam Aungst.
Nikkia Scott escaped safely from her apartment at 825 W. Third Street when the fire broke out around 11:30 p.m., Aungst said.
Your roommate, Tiffany Travers, is not home, he said.
Unattended cooking has been ruled out as a cause of the accidental fire.
Fire Lt. Kenny Smith said light smoke was coming from the back of the apartment when the firefighters arrived on site.
The fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes, but not before an estimated $ 15,000 damage was done, Aungt said.
The local branch of the American Red Cross provided emergency aid to the two women who did not have rental insurance to cover the damage to their property, Aungst said.
The smoke alarm saved Scott’s life and got the firefighters to the scene in time to prevent the fire from causing any major damage, Aungst said.
The working smoke alarm prevented a tragedy just a few days before Christmas, he said.
There are three other apartments in the building, but the tenants of those apartments were allowed to move back in after the fire was extinguished.
The fire damage was limited to one apartment, Smith said.
This was the second kitchen fire in town in 12 hours.
Maple Powell was burned late Sunday morning when she tried to remove a burning pan from her stove in the Grier Street Manor Apartments at 1145 Chester St. around 11:15 a.m., Aungst said. She was treated at UPMC Williamsport.
As with West Third Street, this fire was caused by unsupervised cooking, but in this case the heat and smoke activated the apartment’s sprinkler system, which put out the fire before the fire department arrived.
There was no fire damage, only water damage to one unit, officials said.
After these two fires, Aungst urges residents not to leave the kitchen while they are cooking on the stove.
“If you feel tired, don’t turn the stove on.” he said.
When cooking on the stove, make sure you turn the correct burner on and off, Aungst said.
“Don’t use your stove as a source to heat your home.” He said, adding that there are various resources people can access if they need help paying their heating bills.