Yuma, Arizona - This morning, just before 2:30 am, a fire was reported in an apartment at 2081 South Walnut Avenue. Yuma Fire Department personnel arriving on the scene found heavy smoke and fire coming from the three-unit apartment building.

Firefighters found the fire had spread from the original apartment into shared attic spaces above the two other units. It took approximately an hour to extinguish the fire, and all three units sustained significant damage with the roof collapsing in some areas. The fire was able to be contained to the original building and a second three-unit building on the same property was not damaged.

The fire was found to have started on the stove in one of the apartments. The resident had fallen asleep with food cooking on the stovetop. They awoke to find the apartment on fire. The adult female was able to get out but was later treated for the exposure to smoke and transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center for further evaluation. All others in the apartment building were able to evacuate safety, however a dog was reported to have not gotten out and died as a result. Approximately 10-15 persons were displaced by the fire with the American Red Cross responding to the scene and providing assistance to those in need.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, with U.S. fire departments responding to an average of 172,900 home fires per year being cooking related. Stove top fires accounts for three out of every five of these fires. Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third (31%) of reported home cooking fires and more than half (53%) of the associated deaths.