ST. PETERSBURG — Too many fires in recent years, according to St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, can be blamed on the same odd but damaging series of events:
Someone moves into a new place, stacks their belongings onto the kitchen stove, then has the power turned on. But whoever lived there before, or whoever cleaned the kitchen, left the stove on.
So when the power is turned on, the stove heats up. Everything stacked on top starts smoldering. Soon the kitchen is on fire.
It happened again this morning, firefighters say, when neighbors called 911 at 10:20 a.m. to report seeing smoke at 1324 1/2 18th Ave. S.
Firefighters had to bust down the door to get to the fire, which they then contained to the kitchen area. No one was home at the time, but firefighters did rescue a dog from the home. The cause of the fire:
"The tenants move out, somebody comes in and cleans up the house, but for whatever reason the stove burners are left on," said Lt. Joel Granata. "This has happened five or six times in St. Petersburg over the last two years."
The electricity was turned on Tuesday, Granata said, and the fire was left smoldering overnight. The entire home suffered heavy smoke damage.
"It was one of the worst black smoke fires I've seen in a long time," Granata said. "The firefighters came out just covered in black soot."
The fire was deemed accidental. No one was home at the time but the home did have a working smoke detector. Firefighters are still trying to locate the residents, who will have to find new shelter. The damage to the $95,000 home was put at $20,000.