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Woman, 82, Burned in Bel Marin Keys Kitchen Fire

Sleeve of terrycloth bathrobe caught fire, resulting in third-degree burns on her upper body.

A woman cooking eggs for breakfast Sunday in Bel Marin Keys was badly burned when the sleeve of her terry cloth bathrobe caught fire, a Novato fire official said.

The 82-year-old woman was using a gas stove when she suffered second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of her upper body. She was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, Marshal Bill Tyler said.

The burning sleeve produced enough smoke to activate the smoke alarm at the home, located in the first block of Dolphin Isle, Novato fire Capt. Dmitri Menzel said.

The woman's husband heard the alarm and the commotion in the kitchen, and found his wife's upper body engulfed in flames, Tyler said.

The woman was unable to extinguish the fire herself in the kitchen sink, but her husband doused the flames with water in a bathtub, Tyler said. He then called 911.

Novato Fire District paramedics responded to the home at 10:36 a.m. There were small burn patches on the kitchen floor, but the home did not catch fire, Tyler said.

Cooking fires are the most common fires in Novato, and are the leading cause of injuries to residents at home, Tyler said. The holidays can bring even more hazards involving unattended fires or other unsafe cooking procedures, he said.

Fire officials advise residents not to wear long, loose clothing or lean against the stove when cooking. They also remind residents not to leave oven mitts, potholders, paper towels or other combustible items near cooking surfaces.

Tyler said it is never a good idea to leave the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. He said stoves should be turned off even during brief absences from the kitchen, Tyler said.

He also recommended that residents use timers to remind themselves that food is on the stove.

— Bay City News Service

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