In which I successfully put out a kitchen fire (long).

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.

Maybe you should just stay out of kitchens?

[grats on keeping your head and putting the fire out though]

kitchens are way too dangerous.

i’m glad things worked out well for you.

I was just thinking to myself the other day, “I wonder if anyone has really had a grease fire, I never hear about them happening even though they taught my class about them in home ec.”

Well, there ya go.

I’m glad it didn’t turn out worse than it did. Burns suck.

Yeah. I kinda thought it would only really happen with a gas range, not electric. Not two days before I had successfully deep-fried some awesome crab cakes.

Like I said, I used the wrong oil. If I had used the massive jug of “Fry Oil” instead of the stuff in the unlabeled bottle, nothing would have happened except tasty, breaded red snapper fillets.

I ordering myself pizza tonight.

Only once have I ever set a pan on fire. I was using my mother’s cooker to cook a nice dinner for my parents, and put on a saucepan with a little vegetable oil in the bottom to heat while I finished chopping an onion. Suddenly I hear a “whoooom!” from behind me and turn to see flames leaping from the pan. “Good heavens,” I thought (or something similar). I was maybe fourteen, fifteen. I kept my head, but couldn’t find a pan lid, so I opened the back door, carefully carried the pan outside, and let it burn itself out on the patio.

When my mother got home, she didn’t ask me if I’d hurt myself, or say what a shame it was that I’d had a scary experience while trying to do something nice for them. No. All she said was, “You burned the bottom out of the pan? I’ve had those pans since I got married!”.

(I didn’t even burn the bottom out of it, it scrubbed up just fine and is all set for another forty years.)

Hmmm. I know we have a fire extinguisher around here somewhere. I guess I’ll go look for it, because if I ever do set my kitchen on fire, it’d probably be good to know where it is.

Gary, I’m glad you’re okay! I’m going to check whether my fire extinguisher needs to be serviced.

I am glad you are ok, relatively speaking. YOu must have looked like a zombie going into the store to buy your supplies.
Flour can be used to dowse flames as well.

just remembered,
Mr. Ujest nearly killed us all about a week ago when he put something in the microwave, put a paper towel over it for splatter control and thought he put it on for 4 minutes before going down into the basement.

He came upstairs to see flames in the mic from the paper towel. He had put it on for 40 minutes.

I was directly above this near catastrophy, sleeping.
The house still stinks faintly of the paper towel carnage, even with the windows being open for the last week.

You were bloody lucky. I used to look after my local fire brigade: I’ve seen firemen train for fat fires.

What’s this talk of fire extinguishers? You didn’t have a fire blanket? :eek::eek::eek: Never mind the fire extinguisher: a standard CO2 extinguisher isn’t much good for fat fires and a water one should never be used on a fat fire.

Place blanket over fire, double layer if possible, turn off heat source, leave to cool down before moving.

:eek::eek::eek: Jeebus but you were bloody lucky.

I suggest you get some natural fibre oven gloves: they will absorb and diffuse, not melt or dissolve. Unless you were using special ones, of course. And it’s cold running water. Stick your affected limbs under the shower.

A tip I remember from when I did work for my local fire brigade: if your fat is dangerously hot but not alight, if you’ve got them, throw in frozen chips/fries, peas, or similar to cool down the oil. Don’t do this if the oil will overflow, of course.

Still, you survived and have learned a number of valuable lessons.

Salt, flour burns.

No kidding, a handful of flour tossed into a campfire at the right time can make a dramatic story especially thrilling.

And create a delicious treat as well.

I’ve never set food on fire before, but I have set a pot holder on fire before. It’s what happens when you switch to a gas stove after using nothing but electric before.

Double post!

I believe the PC term is “big-boned fires.”

Some time back my wife bought a cool paper towel holder that had a big magnet and stuck to the refrigerator. She mounted it on the side nearest the stove, making it particularly easy to grab a sheet while working near the stove.

One day we were at the front door, talking with some friends who had just rang the doorbell, when I heard the smoke detector go off. I walked casually toward the kitchen and saw flames coming up from the far side of the refrigerator :eek: (from the front door one sees the side of the fridge, and the rest of the kitchen is beyond).

I ran into the kitchen and observed the entire roll of paper towels burning furiously, with the flames getting quite close to the ceiling. I looked around and spotted a basin full of dishes and dishwater; I quickly tossed the whole thing, dishes and all, on the flames and doused them.

It turns out that the window had been open and a stiff breeze had tugged on free end of the paper towels, bringing it close enough to the open flame of the stove to catch fire.

The fridge still bears the brownish scars, complete with white squares where the fridge magnets protected the paint. That paper towel holder was immediately retired.

My wife was not happy that I broke the dishes.

All true, in a way, but for this: neither CO2 nor water eztinguishers are anywhere near “standard” – dry chemical extinguishers are the standard for kitchens (and pretty much everywhere else, except for movies). I remember seeing one or two CO2 extinguishers at places I’ve worked (compared to dozens of dry chemical ones), but I couldn’t tell you how they were chosen for their locations.

Commercial kitchens are a different matter. The extinguisher a typical householder has is either CO2 or water.

Get a fire blanket. Get several.