Madison family lucky to be alive after kitchen fire, officials say

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Fire Department says a child playing with a stove may have started a kitchen fire on the city’s north side earlier this week.

Department officials say the incident happened just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday at an apartment on the 3700 block of E. Karstens Dr.

A family living there said they had prepared some chicken on the stovetop in a saucepan filled with cooking oil before turning off the stove when done. The pan was left on the burner as one of the adults living in the apartment went to work and the other went to lie down in the bedroom with their two young children.

At some point, one of the children got up to grab a drink from the kitchen, and during that time, turned some of the knobs on the stove, believing it was similar to a toy they had. One of the knobs that was turned and left on was one corresponding to the burner on which the pan with the chicken was sitting.

The child went back to bed and closed the door to the bedroom. About 10 minutes later, the family woke up to the sound of their smoke detector going off.

All three were able to get out of the apartment safely as 911 was called.

By the time firefighters arrived, there was heavy smoke and heat inside the apartment. Firefighters found the fire had spread to the cabinets above the stove and were able to put it out.

Officials say there was extensive heat and smoke damage throughout the apartment. Investigators said if the bedroom door had not been closed, the family may not have survived the fire. Instead, nobody was injured.

Two households were displaced as a result of the fire, heat and smoke damage. The American Red Cross is helping a total of eight people who were displaced. Investigators say an initial damage estimate is around $100,000.