WRAL reported on a townhouse fire that broke out around 3am displacing over a dozen people this weekend in Durham. The fire engulfed one townhome while adjacent units sustained smoke and water damage. The suspected cause of the fire…unattended cooking.
While not every fire can be prevented, most kitchen fires can be. Why? Because the number one cause of kitchen fires is DISTRACTIONS. How many times have you left a pot boiling on the stove to go answer a phone call, throw a load of clothes in the washer or check on the kids playing in another room, only to come back to the kitchen to find all the water or liquid has burned out of the pot? If we were in the room, we would have caught it before we burnt dinner, ruined our pot or caused a small kitchen fire. Ovens can be just a dangerous if left unattended. Just a few weeks ago, I was baking a lasagna in my oven on a Sunday afternoon. I had a good hour and half before it was to be done, so I busied myself doing a few chores around the house. As I was headed to the washing machine I glanced over at the oven and saw flames glowing from the bottom of the oven. When I went to check on it, I saw that the heating element was sparking. No big flames, but it slowly followed the element around the bottom of the oven and even turning off the oven didn’t get it to stop. I finally had to turn the stove off at the breaker to get it to go out, but if I had waited any longer (or if my distractions/chores hadn’t brought me back into the kitchen), the fire would have continued to the control panel in the back of the stove and I would have had to replace more than the heating element, I would have had to replace the range, sheet rock, cabinets, and flooring.
So, what should you do if you have a kitchen or grease fire?
NFPA recommends you smother the flames by sliding a lid or sheet pan over the pot/pan and turning off the burner if you have a small grease fire. Leave it covered until it is completely cooled. Do not try to put the flames out with water or move the pot/pan from the stove. For a oven fire, they recommend turning off the heat and keeping the door closed.
PHC sees our fair share kitchen fires each year and the resulting damage can range from a burnt countertop and smoke throughout the home to a total loss house fire. Regardless of the severity, a kitchen fire is a big inconvenience to families and can be traumatic to children and older members of the household. We understand these feelings and are committed to offering the best most compassionate restoration services in Raleigh, Lillington and the surrounding areas. If your home sustains fire damage, give us a call at 919-834-6523 and let our certified professionals restore your home back to pre-fire condition.