'They absolutely could have died.' 3 kids escape Gastonia house fire, fire officials say

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FOX 46 Charlotte

Three children left home alone escaped a house fire overnight in Gastonia. A man had been cooking food on the stove before leaving the house briefly to go to the store, Gastonia Police said. 

The fire started at 2:02 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 at a house located along Baker Boulevard. 

According to Gastonia Fire, three children, ages 11, 14, and 15-years-old, were asleep inside the home and alerted to the fire by a smoke detector. The three kids were able to get out safely and go to a neighbor's house for help.

“They absolutely could have died,” according to a spokesperson with Gastonia Fire. 

The father came back to the home about 15 minutes after firefighters got to the house, officials said. 

The fire was under control in about ten minutes, fire officials said. It was contained to the kitchen area where it began due to unattended food cooking on the stove, they said.  

The family's dog unfortunately died in the fire, according to officials. The fire caused an estimated $15,000 damages. 

Officials recommend the public follow a few simple guidelines while preparing meals:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while baking, frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stove top.