Westerville fire department emphasizes kitchen safety after fatal blaze

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WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – Westerville fire officials are stressing kitchen safety and the importance of working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors after a person was killed recently in a fire.

The Westerville Division of Fire said a fire on Oct. 17 started from food being left unattended in a multi-family unit, killing Chaude Reed, 32.

“This is the second relatively recent incidence of a death caused by unattended cooking when other members in the house are asleep,” Westerville Chief Brian Miller said. “We need to have discussions with our families, roommates and neighbors about this. It’s a preventable situation, and we have to be intentional about using the kitchen when we are alert and prepared to use heat, gas or electricity.”

According to investigators, two other occupants heard the smoke detectors and were able to escape the fire. They were able to alert neighboring residents in the area.

As colder weather conditions approach, Westerville fire officials say fire prevention techniques are important and require discussion in the home:

  • Never leave a heating source unattended, including portable heaters and cooking appliances.
  • Have chimneys and fireplaces inspected before use.
  • Replace batteries and check the power source in your smoke and CO detector(s). CO detectors are especially important when heating units are in use.
  • Talk with all members in your household about a fire escape plan. Practice the plan.

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