A cooking fire in a Westbrook apartment building displaced 16 people on Friday morning, but no one was injured.

Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said the fire on Walker Street started in a second-floor kitchen just before 9 a.m. The heat triggered the sprinkler system in that unit, so the flames had been extinguished when Westbrook fire crews arrived on scene.

“The sprinkler system did its job,” Turcotte said.

Still, the incident caused fire and smoke damage to the three-unit building, which Turcotte said is owned by Avesta Housing. The Red Cross of Maine said it is working with three families to ensure they have food, a safe place to sleep and access to services. A spokesperson for the affordable housing developer did not immediately return a request for comment Friday afternoon.

Turcotte pointed to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, saying that nearly 100,000 apartment fires take place every year. Sprinkler systems like the one triggered Friday have been proven to reduce the rates of injury or death in those fires, he said.

“These fire protection systems save lives,” the fire chief said.


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