Two Naples apartments were severely damaged by fire and two others affected early Sunday when a batch of french fries and oil ignited after being left unattended on a stove.
The fire broke out about 2:55 a.m. at an eight-apartment building in the River Park apartment community, Third Avenue North, in Naples, said Naples Fire Chief Stephen McInerny.
A woman had made a bathroom trip while preparing the french fries on an electric range, and was confronted by flames throughout the kitchen when she returned, he said.
After arriving on the scene and extinguishing the blaze in apartment C3, firefighters discovered it had spread to three other units, two above and one adjacent. Firefighters had to hack through walls of these apartments to attack the flames.
Nobody was injured.
Chief McInerny said at least one 911 call alerted emergency personnel. Units from the city’s two stations responded, and upon arrival about five minutes later, found the C3 apartment’s kitchen engulfed in flames.
Using a hose, firefighters put out the fire in 10 minutes, and at the same time searched adjoining apartments for indications of the fire spreading.
It had indeed spread in the voids between apartments, McInerny said, affecting the directly above first-floor apartment C8, and also the adjacent C4 and C9 apartments.
“There was fire on both levels, and it took 45 minutes to extinguish both,” McInerny said.
Damage to apartments C3 and C4 rendered them “uninhabitable” McInerny said, while the others were less seriously damaged.
Monetary damages are estimated at between $100,000 and $150,000.
McInerny praised his men for their “aggressive and efficient” actions, saying their speed had likely prevented the loss of the eight-apartment building, which is part of a much larger community complex.
“Obviously, it’s a very dangerous practice to leave an anything unattended on a stove,” McInerny said.
He said the consequence is that four adults are temporarily homeless until repairs to the apartments can be made.