The fire that severely damaged Portland’s North Deering fire station ignited after firefighters left the stove on while responding to a call at a nearby home.

The firefighters had just begun cooking dinner Sunday evening when the call-out came in, according to a statement by the city.

“Firefighters are human just like everyone else and sometimes mistakes occur when in a rush,” Fire Chief David Jackson said. “In this instance, this crew was responding to a call and they thought the stove was properly turned off before leaving. Kitchen fires are the most common type of home fire and (cause of) fire injuries. We’d like to use this opportunity to remind our citizens this can happen to anyone and it’s important to cook safely.”

Jessica Grondin, a spokeswoman for the city, declined to provide the name or names of the firefighter responsible for starting the fire because the incident could result in disciplinary action.

She also said it was too early to know the cost of the damage, and whether the city’s insurance policy, which has a deductible of $100,000, will cover it. She said there is no estimate yet on how long repairs will take.

While the Allen Avenue station is out of service, North Deering’s fire crew, Ladder 4, will operate out of the Riverton Station at 1606 Forest Ave. and Medcu 4 will operate out of the Ocean Avenue Station at 580 Ocean Ave., the city said. The relocations will have minimal impact on call response times, the city said.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office determination on the fire’s cause came several hours after firefighters returned to the North Deering station Monday morning to douse hot spots that smoldered overnight, after the firehouse caught fire Sunday evening.

Assistant Chief Keith Gautreau said firefighters were performing a routine check of the scene and found smoldering insulation. Several fire trucks and more than a dozen firefighters responded, tearing apart the ceiling near the front of the building where the burning insulation was found.

“Blown-in insulation can be really stubborn,” Gautreau said.

The original fire occurred about 6 p.m. Sunday, after the North Deering crew answered a call.

Another team had to come to put out the flames, Gautreau said. The damage centered on the kitchen area.

According to records provided by the city, the fire station was last inspected by firefighters on June 28, and no fire safety issues were identified at that time.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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