26 people displaced in New Bedford due to fire caused by “unattended cooking”

At least two dozen people were forced out of their home after a fire in New Bedford, a day before Thanksgiving.

Crews were called to a building on Acushnet Avenue Wednesday, where flames were burning in the structure’s rear stairwell, its fourth floor and attic, according to the New Bedford Fire Department.

In a social media post, the department noted that no 911 calls were placed for the incident at first, but that automatic alarms alerted officials to the fire.

Six fire engines and three ladder companies were called in, along with more crews from Fairhaven, while teams from Dartmouth, Acushnet, and Mattapoisett provided mutual aid.

By the end of the day, two dogs were rescued from the building while 26 people were displaced. Officials said the cause of the fire appeared to be accidental and was “the result of unattended cooking in a fourth floor apartment.”

Coincidentally, New Bedford Fire put out its own public service announcement on cooking fires a day beforehand, reminding the public to take steps to stay safe during the holidays and in general. They said:

Test your smoke alarms monthly.
Be prepared, have an escape plan.
Remember to “Stand by your Pan”
Always stay in the kitchen when boiling, broiling or frying.
Set a timer when using the oven.
NEVER leave the house when the oven is on.
Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent accidental spills of hot contents.
If there is a fire on the stove, “Put a Lid on It” and turn off the burner.
DO NOT USE WATER. If you do not have a lid use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.
If there is a fire in the oven or broiler keep the DOOR CLOSED and turn the oven OFF.
Every time you open the oven door, you are adding oxygen helping ignite the fire.

No tenants or firefighters were injured during Wednesday’s response, according to the department, though one of the dogs rescued required medical attention.