A landlord in Mason City, Iowa recently was awarded nearly $50,000 in damages against a tenant whose carelessness caused an apartment fire.
According to a news report, the tenant fell asleep while she had food cooking on the stove top. The oil in the pan caught fire and caused significant damage to the unit and the building. The court determined that the tenant was negligent in leaving the food unattended.
Cooking accidents are one of the most common causes of apartment fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking is a factor in an estimated 156,000 plus residential structures, or 44% of recently reported home fires. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires, and two-thirds were ignited by food and oils.
Educating tenants on the proper use of cooking appliances and telling them what to do in case of fire can prevent injuries and deaths from apartment kitchen fires, and increases the safety of all tenants in multifamily buildings.
Properly operating smoke detectors and fire extinguishers also limit the dangers, and are required by law in many areas.
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