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14 evacuated following Creve Coeur apartment fire

The fire was contained to the first-floor apartment unit.

CREVE COEUR, Mo. — Fire authorities in St. Louis County were forced to evacuate over a dozen apartment residents following a fire allegedly started by a kitchen appliance.

Around 11:45 p.m., fire officials with the Creve Coeur Protection District responded to the Oak Forest Apartments after a woman reported her dishwasher caught on fire and spread to her kitchen sink. Both the woman and another resident were able to safely escape the apartment unit.

According to Jerry McQueen, Assistant Fire Marshal of the Creve Coeur Protection District, the fire was contained to the first-floor apartment unit. He reported heavy smoke throughout the open-air stairwell, which forced a ladder rescue of a resident on the third floor.

"Before I even looked at a window to see what was going on, a cop knocked on my door multiple times and started screaming [for me to get out]," said Rahale Tulu, a resident one floor above the fire. "What I did was grab my sister who [is] pregnant and got my dog and ran through the door."

Fourteen people were evacuated from their units while firefighters controlled the flames. Three of those fourteen were transported to an area hospital for treatment. There was no information given on their conditions.

According to a report issued by the National Fire Protection Association in 2012, dishwashers were involved in 1,130 home fires between 2006 to 2010. Of those reported fires, two people were killed and 19 were injured. Additionally, about three-fourths of non-confined structure fires which involved dishwashers began with the ignition of kitchen appliance wiring or cable insulation, NFPA said.

About $23 million in property damage was reported annually during those four years.

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