An experience that no one should have to go through is a home cooking fire. Most people cook every day, but it can only take a second for something to catch on fire. A 2020 research report from the National Fire Protection Association averages that nearly 49 percent of all reported home fires are caused by cooking.
Clean All has provided kitchen fire repair services to dozens of homes in the Cornwall area, so we understand how devastating a house fire can be for you and your family.
As home cooking fires are so common, it’s essential to be aware of the five most common causes of a kitchen fire. Knowing these safety risks isn’t just a way to help avoid costly home repairs; it could save your life.
1) Leaving your cooking unattended
Unattended cooking is the cause of most kitchen fires. It caused nearly 31 percent of all home fires and 53 percent of cooking fire-related deaths between 2014-2018.
Leaving your cooking unattended, even for a second, can quickly become a terrible situation. It’s never a good idea to multi-task and move away from the kitchen if there is an open flame or your stove is set to a high temperature. You should always be focused on your cooking.
Also, if you’re too tired or not feeling well, it’s better to leave the stove alone and order takeout. Nearly 23 percent of kitchen fires happened because the person was asleep, and sleeping accounted for almost 40 percent of civilian casualties from 2014-2018.
2) Frying with oil
Anytime you cook anything using oil, it needs constant attention. Two-thirds (66 percent) of kitchen fires occurred after cooking oil, fat, grease, butter, and other cooking substances were ignited. Oil can spread the fire faster and cause a fire the next time someone cooks if there’s any residue left on the stovetops.
When you’re cooking and frying oil:
- Cover the bottom of your pan with just enough oil so your food isn’t submerged.
- Use tongs for your food to put it gently into the pan, so the oil doesn’t splatter.
- Clean the cooking area and countertops so no oil or grease splatter is left on any surface.
- If your pan catches fire, DO NOT use water to extinguish the flames. This will only cause the fire to spread. If you can, put on oven mitts and safely slide a non-glass lid onto the pan to smother the flames and then turn off your stove.
3) Setting the cooking temperature too high
You don’t need to turn your stove or oven top up to cook your food correctly. While you may be hungry and want to get the cooking out of the way, setting your appliances to ridiculously high temperatures is extremely dangerous.
As mentioned before, food combustion is responsible for most kitchen fires, and when combined with oil, it creates a recipe for disaster. Preheat your stove or oven to the recommended cooking temperature, and don’t leave it unattended. If you have a gas stove, never let the flame rise over the top of the pot or pan. Be patient and follow precisely what the recipe calls for.
4) Wearing loose-fitting clothing around your stove
Clothing ignitions are responsible for many fire-related deaths even though they make up less than one percent of all home cooking fires annually. Loose-fitting clothes can catch fire if they come in contact with a burner or if the fabric gets caught on the stove.
How quickly your clothes will catch on fire depends on the type of fabric. Cotton and linen burn quickly and can be lit in seconds. Polyester, nylon, and spandex won’t burn as fast. Still, synthetic materials are so dangerous that they’ll melt directly onto your skin—the smartest thing to wear when cooking is a fire-retardant apron and form-fitting clothes.
5) Flammable compounds left near an open flame or other heating elements
Your kitchen is full of flammable objects. Napkins, paper towels, rags, food packages, cookbooks, recipe cards, and wooden utensils should never be left near or around your stove or oven top. Any highly flammable or combustible items must be kept from your cooking surfaces.
What should you do after you experience a kitchen fire?
Above all else, call 911 immediately if you cannot control the kitchen fire. A kitchen or home is replaceable; your life isn’t.
If the cooking fire was small and has been appropriately handled, you should give our team at Clean All a call! Several items will need replacing after a kitchen fire, including your cabinets, flooring, appliances, and countertops. Smoke can also damage your walls and the material underneath, so these things may also need replacing. Once we’ve assessed the damage, we will work closely with you and your insurance company to determine the next steps.
If you’ve experienced a kitchen fire due to one of the five items listed above, call Clean All to come and fix the damage!
You alone have the power to stop kitchen fires. It’s critical to lower the chances of starting a fire while cooking. Always keep these five factors in mind the next time you use your stove or oven. In case of a kitchen fire, AFTER calling 911 if necessary, contact us at (613) 932-5326! We’ll repair any existing damage and get things back to normal! Our kitchen fire repair and restoration services can be performed for properties in Cornwall & surrounding areas.