Fire officials say one device could prevent a majority of fires they see


It's one of the most dangerous places in your home, the kitchen.

Local fire departments say nearly a third of the fires they go to, start in the kitchen.

As part of Fire Prevention Week, fire departments in our area want people to know that there are ways to stop that danger, with a Stove Top Fire Stop.

"In South Bend we have approximately 200 structure fires every year, and in about a third of those, the origin is in the kitchen," said Capt. Gerard Ellis of the South Bend Fire Department.

Officials said many kitchen fires that start on the stove cause more than $100,000 of damage in just one kitchen. With the Stove Top Fire Stop, the damage is less than $1,000.

"This stove top device is critical because you don't have to be in the kitchen in order for that to activate," said Ellis.

The device attaches to the top of a stove. When the fire reaches the device's wick, it ignites a powder, extinguishing the fire in a matter of seconds.

Many apartment complexes throughout our area already have fire stoppers like this in place, but fire officials tell WSBT they want to see them in every single house, as common as a smoke detector.

"The fire doesn't differentiate between people who are renting and people who are paying for a mortgage," said Dave Cherrone, the Fire Marshal for Clay Fire Territory.

Main Street Village Apartments in Mishawaka has them in all 400 units. Bryan Yeske, the property manager, said the fire stoppers keep the residents safe, but sometimes, they question what they are.

"Some people ask if they can remove them, but that's absolutely not allowed. It is in our lease that if they tamper with them, we can fine them," Yeske said.

Lowes and Home Depot sell Stove Top Fire Stop, but in a couple of weeks, even your local fire department will sell them. They cost $50.00, but Cherrone said the cost is cheap when it comes to saving your life.

"When you're able to do lifesaving and property conservation at the same time, for 50 dollars, that's a pretty cheap investment."

Oct 8 the South Bend Fire Department is installing smoke alarms throughout the city, and Oct. 9 the department is hosting an open house to kick off Fire Prevention Week.

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