New London fire officials: Tuesday apartment blaze began in kitchen

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New London — City fire officials have determined that a fire in an apartment Tuesday evening, which sent three people to the hospital, one with severe burns, was sparked when a man was cooking in the unit's kitchen.

The New London Fire Department responded to the apartment complex at 5:36 p.m. Tuesday and found the man standing outside, suffering burns to various parts of his body, according to the New London Fire Department.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, which was contained to the kitchen and dining area of Unit K at the Faire Harbour Landings complex at 96 Michael Road, where the man lived. He was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for burn injuries and later was transferred to The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital for further treatment. The man's two daughters, who were inside the home at the time of the fire, were taken to L+M Hospital to be evaluated for smoke inhalation and later were released, Vernon Skau, the city's fire marshal, said Wednesday.

The apartment sustained smoke, water and fire damage, with the most severe fire damage in the kitchen, fire Chief Thomas Curcio said Tuesday night. The apartment was the only one in the 12-unit building that was deemed uninhabitable, according to Battalion Chief Jonathan Paige.

In a statement released Wednesday, the fire department warned residents to be careful in the kitchen. The statement cautioned residents not to cook when they are tired or wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves. The statement also reminded residents to always stay in the kitchen when cooking and keep anything flammable away from the stovetop, including wooden cooking utensils, food packaging and oven mitts.

The Day Staff Writers Greg Smith and Kimberly Drelich contributed to this report.

t.hartz@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the name of the apartment complex and the number of units it contains.

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