An elderly woman had to be rescued from her Ellicott City apartment in one of two kitchen fires emergency personnel responded to in Howard County early Sunday morning.

Shortly after midnight, firefighters responded to the 3500 block of Court House Drive after one of the woman's neighbors reported smoke detectors ringing in her apartment, fire officials said.


Unable to contact the woman inside, firefighters forced their way into her apartment and found her asleep on a couch, officials said. In her kitchen, there was a fire at the stove, where cooking had been left unattended, officials said.

The woman was rushed to Howard County General Hospital because of medical symptoms unrelated to the fire, officials said, and the apartment was ventilated. There was minor damage, said Jackie Cutler, a fire spokeswoman.

About 2:50 a.m., about 30 firefighters responded to reports of another kitchen fire in the 5000 block of Columbia Road in Columbia, where they found a grease fire in an apartment kitchen, officials said.

The fire was put out within a half hour and no one was injured, officials said.

The only resident of the apartment and a neighbor in the apartment below were displaced by water and smoke damage, officials said.

As a result of the fires, county fire officials released tips to residents to avoid kitchen fires, including double-checking kitchen appliances before going to sleep at night and never using water to try to put out a grease fire.