Firefighters want every kitchen to have range top fire extinguishers

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Kitchen fires are among the most common causes of fire in homes around the metro area. But firefighters say a small, inexpensive device can often put out a stove top fire before rescue crews arrive.

That's why Overland Park firefighters would like every home to have a range top fire extinguisher in its kitchen.

Last week, Overland Park firefighters rushed to an apartment complex near I-435 and Antioch Road, only to find that a fire in one of the units was no longer burning.

Antioch Crossing Apartments had installed automatic fire extinguishers in the range hoods above each stove.

When flames from the cooktop started burning out of control, the heat melted a wick in the compact extinguishers, releasing fire suppressing powder that immediately put out the flames.

As a result, damages contained to the apartment were estimated at only about $2,000.

"We take prevention extremely serious around here," said Lt. Stan McDonald, one of the firefighters who responded to the call. "These are very minimal cost. Obviously, saving a kitchen and building and lives is a really worthwhile cause. It's something we promote, not just to apartment owners and building owners, but just regular residential houses as well."

Just five years ago, McDonald battled a similar kitchen fire in this same apartment complex.

That one did not have the range top fire suppression system. There was extensive damage to the entire apartment building by the time firefighters put the blaze out. Although no one was hurt, rebuilding the property cost about $2 million.

Installing two of the fire extinguishers in the range hood above kitchen cooking burners only costs about $30. They are available at most home improvement stores and the Antioch Crossing property operators say their insurance company gave them a discount for installing them.

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