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Madison Fire Department truck generic file photo

Firefighters broke into a Southwest Side apartment Wednesday night, finding a stovetop fire and an adult and two children sleeping, the Madison Fire Department reported.

Occupants of the four-unit apartment building at 5806 Russett Road called 911 at 9:49 p.m. Wednesday to report smoke in the hallway and a smoke alarm sounding.

Firefighters arriving at 9:52 p.m. couldn’t see smoke or fire from outside of the building, but when they entered, they noticed light smoke in the hallway, Fire Department public information officer Bernadette Galvez said in a statement.

Firefighters made their way upstairs, knocking on doors attempting to alert others who were in the building, and eventually forced their way into a second-floor apartment where they encountered black smoke, found and quickly extinguished the stovetop fire, and then sleeping trio, who they assisted outside, Galvez said.

There were no injuries and damage was estimated at $10,000. The Red Cross assisted with temporary housing, Schuster said.

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In what could have been a similar incident Tuesday night, Fire Department public information officer Cynthia Schuster called a resident who properly put out a stovetop fire a “hero.”

Firefighters were called to the McKenna Woods Apartments in the 1000 block of McKenna Road at 8:32 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a fire alarm there. Arriving firefighters were met by a man who said he had a small fire in a frying pan of oil but the fire was out, Schuster said in a statement.

The occupant “was smart and calm enough to move the pan into the sink and put out the fire with flour,” a lieutenant who responded to the scene reported, Schuster said.

While flour snuffed out the flames, applying water, which is a common instinct for people confronting oil-based cooking fires, would likely have made matters worse, Schuster said.

There was smoke, but no damage, no injuries, and no one displaced. Firefighters ventilated the building and reset the alarm before returning to service, Schuster said.

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