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Cedar Rapids Fire Department stresses safety after fatal fire

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — The Cedar Rapids Fire Department is urging Iowans to be prepared and have a plan in case of an emergency. This comes after an unattended cooking fire killed a 43-year-old woman last Friday in her apartment.

3021 6th Street SW looks like your average apartment complex but it’s where 43-year-old Sharon Garnett was killed after unattended cooking lead to a fire.

It’s not the first said Cedar Rapids Firefighter, Shane Mell, “Of those residential fires coming from those appliances, one third of them come from unattended cooking fires.”

Despite working fire detectors, Garnett was unable to get out. Firefighters tell us her ability to escape was complicated by a medical condition and smoke inhalation. Which is why the fire department urges people to be prepared.

“Having some type of escape plan. How do you know how to get out of your home. Are you upstairs? Is there a window? Do you have an escape ladder right there?” said Mell.

If you do find yourself in a kitchen fire, especially one caused by grease, Bill Chadima owner of Hawkeye Fire & Safety tell us not to use water.

“People use some baking soda or put the lid on it if you can.. because then it won’t have any oxygen. You don’t want to blow it out or wave something at it because that’s going to add oxygen to the fire.” said Chadima.

They also recommend every home have at least an ABC fire extinguisher.

“I recommend at least a five pound ABC. That means it puts out a class A fire, which is paper, wood and trash. A class B fire which is flammable liquids and it also works on electoral which is a C fire,” said Chadima.

Hawkeye Fire & Safety also said to keep your fire your fire extinguisher somewhere easily accessible, not under your sink.

It’s also very important to go over escape plans with children. They need to know how to get out and where to meet adults.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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