Cooking fires on rise, tips on putting out grease fires

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) – A man is in the hospital with second and third degree burns after trying to throw a burning pan out of his home. It happened Monday night in the 200 block of Eastman Avenue in Colonial Heights. Investigators say the man was cooking when a pan caught fire. He was burned on several parts of his body.

Today, fire officials are urging residents to cook with caution. They say an increasing number of people start to cook -- then, they leave the stove unattended and when a cooking fire erupts many people do the wrong thing when trying to knock out the flames.

Cooking fires are becoming increasingly common nationwide. They can flare up in a flash.

"It will catch the cabinets, dish-rags, any nearby combustible and spread the fire," said Fire Marshal J.E. Boisseau.

A lesson on what to do and what not to do if this happens in your kitchen. If you have a fire extinguisher, use it.

"Aim at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth making sure the fire is out," he said.

Baking soda will also cause the flame to fizzle, or you can put a lid on it.

"That's going to suffocate it and remove the oxygen," said Boisseau.

Another option to put out the blaze is by smothering it with a wet cloth. You never want to throw water on a grease fire; it'll cause it to intensify. And grabbing a burning pan to throw it in a sink or outside -- is another don't.

"As you move it, the air current going across the pan will spread the fire. The grease could spill out and catch your clothing on fire -- catch the carpet, flooring," he said.

That's what happened to a Colonial Heights man Monday night -- when a pan in his home caught fire. A neighbor says she's been in contact with the victim's family.

"He picked the pan up and moved with it. It burned him. The grease splashed out and caught his pants on fire," said neighbor R.J. Proffitt.

The fire victim is recovering at VCU Medical Center. The fire marshal says many of us can avoid this potential disaster if we cook with care. Now of course these tips are for small cooking fires. If flames grow and spread get out of the home and call for help.

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