According to the National Fire Protection Association [NFPA], cooking is the leading cause of home fires nationwide. Recently, two St. Peters residents became part of this statistic.
On Monday, Nov. 27, at around 10 a.m., a resident at Wyndham Park Apartments turned her back on a frying pan of bacon, which caught fire.
“The resident panicked and poured water on the grease fire, which caused the flames to flash, setting off the fire suppression [sprinkler] system,” said Central County Fire & Rescue [CCFR] Assistant Chief Steve Brown. “Water should never be poured on a grease fire. We are fortunate that there were no injuries or more extreme damage to her home.”
In the event of a grease fire, residents should turn off the stove and cover the flames with a lid, or use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. If the fire spreads, residents should evacuate the house and call 911.
At around 7 p.m. on Nov. 27, CCFR responded to the second cooking fire of the day. This time, a resident at Turnberry Place Condominiums was warming a pan to fry chicken and left the room. When she returned, the pan was on fire and the fire suppression system was putting out the fire.
“Current building codes in the area require working fire suppression systems in multi-family housing units like these apartment and condominium complexes. In these two fires, these systems helped minimize the fire damage to incidents that only required minor clean-up, and there were no injuries. Without them, the fire damage and injuries could have been much more extensive,” Brown explained.
According to the NFPA, there are more than 450 home cooking fires every day. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of these fires and the leading cause of civilian fire injuries.
“Especially during the busy holiday season, it is critically important for everyone to remember safety first in the kitchen. Never leave cooking food unattended, keep items like dishtowels away from the stove, and make sure children and pets stay away from the stove and oven,” Brown advised.