State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Fire Breaks Out While State College Man is Sleeping

by on July 24, 2014 10:10 AM

A fire broke out Monday night on College Avenue after a man fell asleep while cooking food on his stove at Barcroft apartments.

He should count himself lucky to be alive, thanks to his neighbors who smelled smoke coming from his apartment unit and called 911.

Steve Bair, fire director for the Centre Region Council of Governments, says the batteries in the unit's smoke detector were dead, which is why Alpha Fire Company wasn't contacted sooner. Bair says tenants are responsible for replacing the batteries in smoke detectors.

In addition to the dead smoke detector in the unit, the building's fire alarm malfunctioned due to a programming error, Bair says. 

The food was burning but the fire was contained by the metal flashing above the stove. This metal prevented the cabinets from catching fire. If that had happened the fire could have spread much more quickly.

The entire apartment, located at 522 E. College Ave., filled with smoke. Neighbors began to smell smoke coming from the hallway and called emergency responders for help around 5:50 p.m.

Bair says when Alpha Fire Company arrived at the scene, there was a large amount of smoke in the hallway outside the unit but the alarm was not beeping.

Firefighters were able to awaken the sleeping tenant, who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation but declined additional treatment. The smoke was cleared from the building within an hour of the firefighters arrival, Bair says.

Damage was fairly minor. The burned out stove will have to be replaced and the apartment will need to be cleaned.

Centre Region Code is investigating the building's malfunctioning smoke detector. Bair says the assumption is the smoke detector and security alarm were programmed together. As a result, the smoke detector probably chirped once or twice before turning itself off.

Typically, when a smoke detector starts beeping, it will continue to sound until a human clears it or takes some action. This is different than the case of security alarms, which are made to go off and then silence itself after police or fire departments are called.

"The suspicion is that whoever set the alarm up did the programming on it," Bair says. "They didn’t change the fire circuit to be a different response than the burglary or security circuit."

These types of unintended cooking accidents are all to common. Bair says 45 percent of fires originate on the top of stoves.

Barcroft apartments is owned by Associated Realty Property Management. Calls for comment to ARPM were not returned.

Popular Stories:

Penn State Football: James Franklin's Visit To Children's Hospital Hits Close To Home

Jay Paterno’s New Book Released Early at Barnes & Noble

Police: Despite Recent High-Profile Incidents, Boalsburg Crime is Down

Penn State Student Suffers Head Trauma During Fraternity Altercation

Red Cross Issues Urgent Appeal for Blood Donors

PennDot Sets 70 MPH Speed Limit on Some Highways

Eighth-Grader Launches Unique Fundraising Campaign for Turkey Trip

Life in Prison: It's Not a Nice Place to Visit and You Wouldn't Want to Live There

Penn State Football: Howle And Urschel Named To NFF Hampshire Honor Society

Penn State Football: Athlon Names Franklin And Staff No.9 In The Nation

Penn State Football: 2016 Targets Begin To Take Shape As Recruiting Continues



Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to StateCollege.com and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
Next Article
Penn State Football: James Franklin's Visit To Children's Hospital Hits Close To Home
July 23, 2014 7:40 PM
by Ben Jones
Penn State Football: James Franklin's Visit To Children's Hospital Hits Close To Home
Comments
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2014 StateCollege.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online