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Extinguishers save house from fire

QUICK THINKING helped save the home of an Eagles Nest resident after a kitchen fire started.

by Parker Loew

On Aug. 28 a kitchen fire in Eagle Nest Township was successfully extinguished due to quick thinking and preparedness by homeowner Ryan Bajan.

The fire started after he had accidentally left groceries on the electric burner in the kitchen.

“I must have bumped one of the electric burner switches at some point,” he said. “About 20 minutes later I heard smoke alarms go off. I ran into the house and saw smoke everywhere.”

He quickly located the source of the smoke, which was the kitchen.

“I walked into the kitchen. The groceries, it was like a box of bread, it was all just engulfed in flames,” he said. “The wall was on fire, the microwave was on fire. I could see two burners were glowing red.”

His first reaction was to get everyone in the house safe before trying to deal with the fire.

“I immediately was concerned about the kids being in the house. They were downstairs in the basement, so I yelled at them to go outside and made sure they were out,” he said.

After making sure everyone was safe and accounted for, Bajan went into firefighting mode.

He grabbed the chemical extinguisher he kept in arms reach of the stove area at eye level.

“I grabbed the dry-chemical extinguisher and put it on the fire. I then threw the box of bread on the ground,” he said.

The microwave above the stove was falling apart and melting onto the flat top, so there was no way he could attempt to turn the electric burner off.

He went downstairs and killed the circuit.

“Thankfully, I had just wired that whole circuit, so I knew exactly what I was doing,” he said.

He then went back upstairs and grabbed another extinguisher in his hallway. It was a large, standard extinguisher and he “blasted it again.”

At this point, the fire appeared to be out, so he called 9-1-1.

“I thought it was out, at least visibly out,” he said.

Soon, a first responder came, which was one of his neighbors in the Eagles Nest area.

They went back inside to check out the fire and it had re-ignited.

“I ran into the garage and grabbed a small car extinguisher and blasted it again,” he said.

This put the fire out for good.

The fire department showed up soon after and took over.

The fire was out, but the department used their thermal imaging technology to determine much of the tiles and the wall behind the stove was very hot.

“They went in and busted the wall out behind the stove,” he said.

While the house was saved from the fire, unfortunately, there was still significant damage.

“The microwave fell apart, there was glass everywhere, and there was heavy smoke damage throughout the home,” he said.

Bajan said there would have been significantly more damage to the house if he didn’t have the extinguishers and the firefighters had to water down the house.

“If I didn’t have the second large extinguisher, it would not have gone out. They (firefighters) would have had to hose the place down,” he said.

It will be a few months before Bajan can move back in, as a restoration company must take everything out of the home, clean it from the smoke damage, and then bring it back in.

While this is a learning experience for Bajan, he is happy he was prepared and recommends others check in on their fire preparedness from time to time.

“People should make sure they have fire extinguishers and working smoke alarms,” he said. “It’s important to get them tested annually.”

Bajan also encourages people to get a dry chemical fire extinguisher, as they are better at subduing flames than regular run-of-the-mill extinguishers.

He said he is very grateful for the support of loving friends and family as his family works through the fire.

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