Potatoes on the stove caused $200,000 in damage Sunday to a downtown Bellevue apartment, and caused injuries to one person, the Bellevue Fire Department reported.
The fast response by firefighters limited damage from the fire, but officials say that it could have prevented by following one simple rule: don't leave food cooking unattended.
"More than 42 percent of all residential fires are caused by unattended cooking," said Fire Education Coordinator Kathy Barker, in a prepared statement. "This fire is just another reminder that most residential fires are preventable."
Residents from four units were displaced by the fire at the Town House Apartments, 400 block of Bellevue Way SE, but the manager of the Town House Apartments praised firefighters for an "extraordinary" response that limited damage, according to the .
One person sustained minor injuries in the incident, the fire department reported.
A witness called emergency dispatchers at 8:35 p.m. Sunday, to report black smoke coming from the 20-unit apartment building, according to the fire department. In just over four minutes firefighters arrived to find heavy fire in a third-floor unit, the fire department reported.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 20 minutes, the fire department reported. Although the blaze gutted one unit and three sustained water damage, apartment manager Cheryl Hoggard told the fire department that the firefighters' speed and care prevented more damage or injuries, according to the report.
The resident of that unit said he was cooking when he stepped away from the kitchen, the Bellevue Fire Department reported. When his smoke detector activated, the resident went back to the kitchen to find flames on the stove, the fire department reported. After unsuccessful attempts to put the fire out, he evacuated his apartment, according to the press release.
Bellevue fire investigators confirmed the cause of the fire to be unattended cooking, the fire department reported. The damage is estimated at $200,000.
-- Information from the Bellevue Fire Department