Note: This story was last updated at 8:20 p.m.
An Oak Ridge woman and her two children safely escaped an Easter morning grease fire that started in a pan on a stove while she was preparing to fry chicken in a Wade Lane home.
But their home, one of four units in a two-story building, was likely destroyed, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.
Still, resident Dee Crumm said she is just glad that she and her 13-year-old son Seth and 10-year-old daughter Shelby are okay.
“As long as the kids are okay, that’s what counts,” Crumm said.
No one else was injured either.
Crumm said she was preparing to fry some chicken on the stove when the smoke alarm went off. The pan of grease was smoking heavily, the Fire Department said.
Crumm said she opened the front and back doors and front window, but by the time she got back to the kitchen, it was “fully involved” in smoke and fire. The pan of grease had burst into flames and quickly spread to the kitchen cabinets, the Fire Department said.
“I yelled to the kids, and we ran out,” Crumm said.
Kerley said the American Red Cross will help Crumm and her two children with food, clothing, and lodging.
The fire at 175 Wade Lane was reported at about 10:08 a.m. Sunday. It was initially reported as a stove fire that extended to cabinets and then the hallway. The fire burned window frames on the outside of both floors and charred the eaves above.
Kerley said three engines, one tower truck, and the ORFD rescue truck all responded. The fire had extended into other rooms of the apartment and out the kitchen window to the bedroom above.
Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze with about 50 gallons of water, starting at the eaves and then spraying water through the door and windows. Fifty gallons is a small amount of water to use in a fire, Kerley said. He said recent ORFD training on initial fire attacks helped firefighters battle Sunday’s blaze.
Kerley said residents in the other three apartments, including the two adjacent units—one on each side of Crumm—will be able to return home tonight. Firefighters used gas monitors to clear the units and worked to ensure that everyone would be safe. Crews also used thermal imaging cameras to check for hot spots. Those other homes had light smoke damage, Kerley said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.