Kitchen fire leaves Burlington home uninhabitable; fire department warns of troubling trend

Piedmont Triad News

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A family was forced out of their home after a fire broke out in their kitchen, according to the Burlington Fire Department.

At about 8:40 p.m. Monday, fire crews responded to a fire at a home on the 900 block of Maple Avenue.

At the scene, they found a light haze of smoke in the home. In the kitchen, there was evidence of a fire that was no longer burning.

The fire caused damage estimated at about $10,000 and fire crews said it was enough to make the home uninhabitable. No one was hurt.

“I just look at my stuff I worked so hard and saved up for gone. Gone in a blink of an eye,” said Laura Burnette, who lives at the home with her three daughters and nine grandchildren.

“I guess the stove kind of sparked on its own and I had a pot of grease on there, so once it sparked it hit the grease, and that’s what exploded,” she said.

The fire damaged the kitchen and spread smoke throughout the house.

“The rest of the house has a whole lot of smoke damage,” Burnette said.

This is a house Burnette worked two jobs to rent and give her family a place to feel safe.

“I saved up every penny. When I say every penny, I went through a lot of days where I didn’t eat anything just so my grandkids could have things,” she said.

She worries about where they will go next because they can’t stay here.

“Nobody is going to put up me and nine grandkids, and that’s the only thing bothering me, where am I going to put them. It got to the point where I got blankets and said we’ll sleep in the car, because I’m not leaving their side,” Burnette said.

“Of course, it’s a tragic loss for them. It’s a time of the season where people are having family come in and fellowship. No one wants a loss period, but especially at a time where you’re supposed to be enjoying your family,” neighbor Linda Gattis said.

It’s this time of year when The Burlington Fire Department gets an increase in kitchen fire calls.

“If you are cooking don’t walk away from it, pay attention. There is a public safety awareness campaign, #staybyyourpan. If there is a distraction turn the stovetop off before walking away,” said Daniel Shoffner, Burlington Fire Department public information officer.

They received about a dozen calls in just under four months.

“I just pray I find another place, where we can go and have Christmas and celebrate,” Burnette said.

On Friday, the Burlington Fire and Prevention Bureau will have a team at local Food Lions and Walmart speaking to people about fire safety as they get their Thanksgiving groceries.

“The Burlington Fire Department wishes to remind the public as we enter the holiday season to be extra vigilant when cooking, as these types of fires have caused significant damage in multiple homes across Burlington already in the past few months, as well as resulting in some injuries,” the fire department said.

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