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      Stovetop fire damages Columbia apartment

      An apartment fire in Columbia causes thousands of dollars in damage.

      Just before 3 a.m. Saturday the Columbia Fire Department was dispatched to the 1600 block of Hinkson Avenue to investigate a smoke odor in the apartment building.

      When firefighters got to the 12-unit, three story building they found a fire in the downstairs apartment.

      Fire fighters forced open the door to the apartment and quickly extinguished a fire on the stove. Fire damage was contained to the area of the stove.

      Fire fighters spent about 30 minutes removing smoke from building.

      Columbia Fire Investigator Lt. Shawn McCollom determined the cause of the fire to be accidental. Lt. McCollom determined the fire started after combustible kitchen items on the electric stovetop ignited when a burner knob was accidentally turned on.

      There were no injuries from the fire and the damage was estimated at $5,000.

      "This is a great example of how a working smoke alarm and early notification to the Columbia Fire Department averted a potentially disastrous large loss fire" said Fire Captain John Metz. The Columbia Fire Department wants to remind residents that working smoke alarms do save lives.

      They said you should test your smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button. Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year.

      Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

      To ensure adequate protection, place smoke alarms in every sleeping room, and in a common area on every floor.