Cooking and kitchen related accidents are one of the leading causes of residential fires in Memphis.
Tuesday evening, a stove fire in Frayser caused 17 residents to be evacuated after someone left food unattended on a stove.
Of the 17 residents in the Frayser apartment complex, nine were children. Everyone got out safely and there were no injures, Memphis Fire Lt. Wayne Cooke said.
Sixteen pieces of fire equipment and 42 emergency response personnel attacked the Frayser fire. Four units suffered mostly smoke and water damages, totaling between $10,000-$15,000.
"Never leave food unattended," Lt. Cooke said.
Cooking and kitchen related incidents caused 563 fires in 2012. So far in 2013 there have been 117 kitchen or cooking-related fires. The other two leading causes of fires are heating units and electrical issues.
"Try not to get preoccupied with other events in your home - watching TV, and of course, never go to sleep, never lay down while cooking," Lt. Cooke said.
Within three to five minutes, your home can be engulfed in flames. Lt. Cooke said don't extinguish small fires with water but do call 9-1-1- and use a fire extinguisher.
"If they're cooking always have a lid, cookie sheet or something that you can cover that fire and prevent it from spreading any fires," he said.
Due to Tuesday's large fire, Lt. Cooke said his staff could not determine whether the smoke detector worked. But he suspects that's what likely saved the 17 evacuees and their few belongings.
The Red Cross is helping some of the displaced families.
With the help of some grant money, the fire department installed more than 1,000 smoke detectors in the past week. Any city of Memphis resident can apply for a free smoke detector by contacting the Fire Museum at 901-636-5650.