A 12-unit apartment building was rendered unlivable when a cooking fire spread thick smoke throughout the building, Brookfield Fire Chief David Masirovits said.

The American Red Cross is working with residents of 550 Nellie St. to find temporary shelter, he said.

The Cocca Development building has 12 apartments, of which 10 were occupied, Masirovits said. All human residents got out safely; one cat died.

The fire started in apartment four, Masirovits said.

“Fire just started when I was cooking food,” said apartment four resident Malik Weatherington. “I went to my room and five minutes later the kitchen was just smoky, and I couldn’t do nothing about it.”

promoWeatherington said he had put on an air fryer.

“There was just a lot of smoke,” he said.

A Brookfield firefighter was briefly overcome when he entered the building, but his mask was not on properly, Masirovits said. He recovered quickly and helped put out the fire in other ways.

Fire damage was limited to apartment four, but smoke damage was extensive throughout the building, Masirovits said. The building is to be boarded up, and electric and gas utilities have been turned off, he said.

Firefighters could not access the fire hydrant at the Ohio Street end of Nellie because of snow piled on it, Masirovits said. Fire companies from Vienna, Sharon and Hubbard brought tanker trucks, and Brookfield was able to link the tankers together to get a consistent flow of water.

Fowler firefighters were ready to respond to any other Brookfield calls that came in during the time.

An inspector from the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal helped investigate the cause.

Masirovits gave a rough estimate of the monetary lot at $250,000. The building is insured, he said.