GRAVENHURST — “It could have been worse,” says Fire Chief Larry Brassard, but a  fire at a home in Gravenhurst early yesterday afternoon (Thusday, Aug. 29) caused extensive damage.

Just past 1 p.m. (Thursday, Aug. 29),  Gravenhurst fire crews were called to a home on Lorne Street after the exterior wall of the home caught fire due to cooking.

The resident was cooking lunch on a propane burner “too close to the home’s vinyl cladding, causing the wall to catch fire,” said a Gravenhurst Fire release Friday.

Despite attempts by the homeowner to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, the flames reached up the outside wall and entered the attic of the home.

Fire crews, operating in the cramped confines of the attic space attacked the fire that was spreading in the wood trusses and roof decking.

The fire was brought under control quickly, but required extensive “overhaul” because of the type of insulation in the attic.

Crews remained on scene for several hours conducting insulation removal.

Damage is estimated at $150,000.00, “but thankfully there were no injuries,” say fire officials.

“The resident did a good job of slowing the progression of the fire down by using a portable fire extinguisher,” said Brassard, who was quick to praise the efforts of the first fire crew who quickly deployed hose lines and got into the attic space as the fire was growing.

“Their aggressive actions were also instrumental in preventing this fire from escalating further,” Brassard said.

This fire also demonstrates the need to be fully attentive to any cooking, whether inside or outside the home.

And the department stresses that cooking appliances have minimum safe clearance requirements and these need to be respected at all times.

“This is the second recent incident where an outside cooking appliance was placed too close to a wall, and in the case, the resident left the appliance operating, but unattended for a short period of time. This illustrates the need the need to respect the recommendations of the manufacturer with respect to placement, and the need to be fully attentive and present whenever the appliance is in use,” said Brassard.

The chief also noted that cooking-related fires remain the number one cause of fires in Ontario.

The fire department also offers these additional cooking safety tips:

–       Never throw water on a grease fire – this will only spread the fire.

–       Make sure grease does not build up on the burners or at the base of the BBQ. Clean your cooking devices regularly to prevent a grease fire.

–       While cooking, keep loose clothing away.

–       Keep children and pets at least one metre away from a hot BBQ.

–       Avoid cooking all together after consuming any intoxicant

For more information, please contact the Gravenhurst Fire Department at 705-687-3414.

A homeowner cooking lunch using a propane burner on Lorne Street in Gravenhurst was a little too close to the wall and flames spread to the building causing an estimated $150,000 damage Thursday afternoon, Aug. 30.
Fire Chief Larry Brassard praised the first fire crew on scene quickly attacked the fire, as flames went up the wall and into the attic. He said it could have been worse.