There’s nothing quite like the hard way to learn safety, especially in the kitchen. I chose the wrong oil to fry up some fish fillets, and it caught fire. I was lucky I was there when it lit up, as I had stepped away for a moment.
I remembered my lessons about fire safety and covered the pan with a lid. However, since a thermometer was clipped to the pan, the lid didn’t cover it completely, and flames still emanated from the opening. I fiddled with the lid a little bit, but it was already too hot. The flames spread to other things on the stove top, including the microwave mounted over it. I was facing the very real possibility, more like probability, that I wouldn’t be able to contain the fire and the house would burn down. This was the most scared I have ever been, but I kept my cool as best I could.
I quickly opened the sliding glass door to outside, put on two rubber oven mitts, grabbed the pan of burning oil, and took it outside. In the process, I spilled burning oil on my leg and toes. I didn’t even get outside before I had to fling the pan out the door. Fortunately, that action caused that portion of the fire to go out.
Back in the kitchen, the remaining flames had already shrunk. The microwave was melted, but had not fully caught fire*. Nothing was still burning on the stove top, and the lids that fell off the stove with burning oil on them were easy to extinguish. The last bit of fire was single piece of paper towel was burning on the floor, put out with yet another metal lid.
With the oven off and all the flames gone, I had to deal with the smoke and the smoke alarms. They didn’t have hush buttons, and there was a considerable amount of smoke, so I went to work opening windows. The adrenaline was wearing off, so the burns on my leg and foot really started to hurt. After getting some cold water on them, shock must have hit me (or what felt like mild shock, anyway). My head was swimming and I was breathing very hard to keep myself under control.
The internet was down (unrelated issue), so I called my wife to check on the full details of burn first aid. She had me soak the burned areas in cool water, which greatly helped the pain, but that’s also when I noticed the blistering on certain burns. I drove myself, in considerable pain, to the grocery store to procure some gauze, tape, antibiotic cream, and Advil. I was again fortunate, this time for access to an automatic car, since the burns had debilitated my left foot (my truck is manual).
Three hours later, with the burns anointed with antibiotic cream and wrapped in gauze, the pain was still there. The pain reliever helped, but it did nothing for my shame in so carelessly allowing a fire to start in the first place.
Only a few months ago I purchased a small fire extinguisher for my own kitchen. This happened in my father-in-law’s kitchen. If he has a fire extinguisher, I didn’t know where it was. I’m just damn lucky I was able to put out the fire before it spread. The pain of the burns while they heal will remind me of my stupidity.
Now that it’s the next day, the broken microwave is beeping every few seconds, giving me a :smack: every time I hear it. A look at the burns reveal a blister covering a third of my pinky toe, but the rest isn’t too bad.
This may be worse than the time I put my hand in a blender and turned it on.
*: The exhaust fan turned itself on. I don’t know if this is a safety feature or what, but it probably helped.