Firefighters put out a kitchen fire Tuesday morning at a Prosser apartment complex before it spread to other units.
The fire was sparked by a stove that was left on in the ground-floor unit at the Prosser Garden Apartments at 900 Alexander Court, said Chief Doug Merritt of Prosser Fire District 3.
Two women and a child live in the apartment. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injures were reported.
The 40-unit apartment complex is next to Housel Middle School and two maintenance men called 911 around 11 a.m. when they saw smoke coming from the building, Merritt said.
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Alonzo Morales lives next door to the apartment that caught fire and also saw the smoke, he said.
“The smoke got me right away. I looked outside and saw it coming out the apartment,” he said. “It didn’t take long for my throat to get plugged up.”
Firefighters were able to enter the apartment through an unlocked back door and keep the fire from spreading out of the kitchen, Merritt said. The fire was under control by 11:23 a.m.
There was heavy fire damage in the kitchen, as well as smoke and water damage throughout the apartment, Merritt said. The apartment is too damaged for the residents to return.
The residents turned on the stove to cook on Monday when the realized their power had been shut off, Merritt said. They left to stay at a relative’s place and forgot to turn the stove off.
When they paid their bill Tuesday, the power company turned the electricity on and the stove caught a pan on fire, Merritt said. The residents plan to stay with a relative.
A fire at the apartments in July of 2012 displaced 12 people and heavily damaged four units. One woman was taken to the hospital and later released.