Grease Fire Aftermath Leaves 2 Apartments With Water Damage

A woman received minor burns in what began as a kitchen grease fire Saturday evening in a downtown Haverhill apartment and ended with extensive water damage to that and at least one other apartment unit below.

Haverhill fire and police responded at about 5:02 p.m., Saturday, to a reported fire in a third floor apartment at the Hayes Building, 14 Granite St, according to Haverhill Fire Chief William F. Laliberty and a police “damaged property” report obtained by WHAV.  Lalibety explained food frying in a pot caught fire. An unidentified female occupant, who reportedly panicked, picked up the pot, placed it into a bathroom shower area and turned water on the pot which, Laliberty added, spread grease on the fire and activated a bathroom sprinkler.

“The heat generated from the fire associated with grease caused a sprinkler head to go off,” Laliberty said. He added firefighters had removed a toilet from its floor drain to alleviate standing water on the floor. Police had reported the toilet was “broken” to drain the water, which had also soaked walls and some carpet in the apartment.

Subsequently, water also ran down into a second floor apartment below and, according to Laliberty, possibly to other units.

“(That unit) sustained extensive water damage throughout the apartment as the water was running down from the ceilings, through the light fixtures. There was standing water in most of the apartment,” a police statement said. Portions of an investigator’s report, including identities of affected individuals, were blacked out by the police department.

A damage estimate was unknown. “Luckily, the building had a sprinkler system or the damage could have been more extensive,” Laliberty said.

The woman, who received minor burns while carrying the burning pot, was treated at the scene by emergency medical technicians but declined transport to a local hospital, he added.

Earlier Saturday, no injuries were reported after an electrical fire broke out about 9 a.m., on the third floor unit of a triple decker at 11 Tremont St, Haverhill. Fire damage was contained to walls on the third floor while lower floors received water damage, Laliberty said. It was unknown how many occupants were temporarily displaced by the fire and a damage estimate was not available. Police also assisted fire crews at that scene.