$50,000 in damages, no injuries in Motel 6 fire

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A grease fire at Motel 6 broke out mid-afternoon on Sunday, Apr. 6 resulting in the building being evacuated and a heavy response from the Airdrie Fire Department.

A total of 13 Fire Department personnel were on scene with five pieces of apparatus to respond to the fire, which collectively cost $50,000 in damages.

No injuries were reported from the incident, and thanks to overhead sprinkler systems, damage was minimal.

The fire was quickly extinguished by the hotel’s sprinkler system, but Airdrie Fire Department Deputy Chief Garth Rabel said the crew size and amount of apparatuses were standard for responses to locations such as Motel 6.

“That is a multi-family (building) or a large business where there is potential for lots of people. That call type gets that type of a response,” said Rabel.

“Even if it was just alarm bells going off without an actual fire, that’s still the group that’s coming. If it was something more severe then we want to make sure that we have the right resources on scene,” he said.

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Airdrie Fire Department responded to the incident around 3 p.m. on April 6.

The building had already been evacuated by the time crews arrived, but upon entry of the building found it filled with light, grey smoke, and water on the floor.

The Airdrie Fire Department determined that a small fire had broken out in one of the main level guest rooms, but had been extinguished by the sprinkler systems.

Further investigation by the Fire Prevention Bureau determined that the fire was caused by someone’s cooking—a pot containing cooking oil had caught fire on a stovetop by overheating while left unattended.

Once crews determined that the fire was fully extinguished, they shut off the sprinklers and salvage and cleanup efforts started.

The total damages to the building and contents within are estimated to cost $50,000, although Rabel said most of it was because of water from the sprinklers.

“The majority of that (cost) would be to get things cleaned up, get the carpet reconditioned, and get the water removed and everything dried,” he said.

The fire at Motel 6 serves as a cautionary tale about safe cooking practices. Rabel said kitchen fires are one of the leading causes of residential fires.

“They’re one of the most common causes of residential fires. This is not the first cooking-related fire we’ve attended this year,” he said.

The Airdrie Fire Department issued a public safety message following the fire, advising folks to never leave stoves or ovens unattended when in use, and to use proper appliances when deep frying food or cooking with a lot of oil. It’s also advised to keep an easily-accessible fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Rabel said there’s also a lesson to be learned about staying insured to be prepared for the unexpected.

“In residential homes for renters or owners, it’s very important to maintain insurance and to ensure that you check your insurance regularly,” he said.

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