Kitchen fire causes more than 100 people evacuated from Winona a - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Kitchen fire causes more than 100 people evacuated from Winona apartment complex

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- About 100 senior citizens were forced to evacuate their five-story apartment complex in Winona on Monday afternoon.

The fire started on the second floor of Winhaven Court about 1:30 p.m. Winona Fire Department crews arrived on scene with enough time to extinguish the flames and avoid any damage. However, the crowds of people on Main Street stretched for several blocks when the fire broke out. 

Smoke could be seen pouring out of the second floor unit as tenants looked on from the street where they waited an hour while fire officials ventilated the building.

Firefighters say the fire started from a cooking pan that had been left unattended on a stove with boiling hot dogs. The tenant had gone for a walk and forgotten them. The flames were contained to the pan and no damage was done, even to the tenant's apartment. 
    
The event could have quickly escalated had it not been for one Winhaven employee who discovered the flames after seeing smoke fill the second story hallway.

"I did open the door and I couldn't see anything. It was just black. So I ran back downstairs, pulled the fire alarm and called 911," said Thomas Walters, a maintenance technician for the building.

Tenants said smoke had filled the hallways and that the smell still lingers on multiple floors, but they are happy to be safe. 
No injuries were reported.

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