A cat knocking over a candle may have been the cause of a minor apartment fire on Springfield Avenue on Sunday, December 30, that interrupted traffic between Rutgers and Colgate streets on the major thoroughfare.
Shortly before 8 p.m. that evening, Maplewood firefighters and police officers responded to a “heavy smoke condition” on the second floor of a residence on Springfield Avenue.
“Residents were evacuated by MPD prior to the arrival of the fire department,” explained a release from the Maplewood Fire Department (read below). “Eng. 32 personnel entered the apartment and found a plastic table and chair smoldering with plastic dripping on the wall and floor.”
Firefighters quickly extinguished the smoke condition and checked the walls for extension.
“Investigation revealed that the occupant had candles burning on the kitchen table. He was in a front room when he smelled smoke and found fire in the kitchen,” the release continues. “The occupant called 911 and used a dry chemical fire extinguisher to knock down the fire before leaving the apartment.”
Besides minor damage to the apartment, the medical office below sustained minor water damage. The occupants of the second and third floors were allowed to return to the building after being evaluated for smoke inhalation by the South Orange Rescue Squad.
The MFD reported that “the cause of the fire is accidental and may have been caused by a cat knocking a candle over. Residents are reminded that, while candles are pleasant to look at, they are open flames and should be used with caution. According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average, a candle fire is reported to U.S. fire departments every 40 minutes. It is recommended that candles be extinguished before leaving a room.”
See more on candle safety here: