Two St. Peters Kitchen Fires Monday Highlight Importance of Cooking Safety, Sprinklers

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires nationwide. Two St. Peters residents became part of this statistic on Nov. 27, when frying chicken and bacon led to fires in their kitchens. Both residences were equipped with automatic fire suppression systems, commonly known as sprinklers, that rapidly extinguished the flames, limiting damage to the buildings.

At around 10 a.m. at the Wyndham Park Apartments, 8000 Wyndham Park Dr. a resident 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 system,” Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Assistant Chief Steve Brown says. “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 has spread, residents should evacuate the house and call 911.

At around 7 p.m. CCFR responded to the second cooking fire of the day. This one was at the Turnberry Place Condominiums, at 450 Benton Dr. A resident 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 the fire out.

“Current building codes in the area require working fire suppression systems in multi-family housing units like these apartment 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 says.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (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 dish towels away from the stove, and make sure children and pets stay away from the stove and oven,” Brown says.

CCFR firefighter Jake Taylor recently appeared on Fox2 to talk about grease fire prevention. Click here to see what they had to say.

Fatal House Fire

Elm Street House FireOne Adult, Two Children Die In St. Peters House Fire

At around 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 9 Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) responded to a call for a house fire in the 1800 Block of Elm Tree St.

Upon arrival, first responders found neighbors knocking on doors and windows. The neighbors, who had discovered the fire, alerted firefighters that there were likely people inside the home.

The firefighters entered the smoke-filled home and found the two children, then the adult. The children were transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead. The adult victim was found dead at the scene.

Because of the fatalities, the St. Peters Police Department is handling the fire investigation.

Birdie Hills Rd. House Fire

Birdie hills house fire

At around 12:20 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7 firefighters from Central County Fire & RescueCottleville Fire Protection District and O’Fallon Fire Protection District and St. Charles County Ambulance District responded to a house fire in the 1100 block of Birdie Hills Rd. St. Charles County Ambulance Medic 10 was the first to arrive and reported heavy fire showing from the home.

When emergency responders arrived everyone was out of the home and firefighters began extinguishing the fire. Two victims were transported to a local hospital for what is believed to be smoke inhalation.

The fire is being investigated by CCFR, and a cause is not available at this time.

Recent Fires

Candles and smoking – they are both a leading cause of home fires, and both resulted in recent fires within the CCFR service area.

On April 19, careless smoking caused a fire at the Cactus RV Park and on April 24, a lit candle caused a fire in the 800 block of Red Tree Lane in the Sun River Village Apartment complex. The smoking fire resulted in a fatality, and two people were injured in the candle fire.

 

Every year, candles and smoking materials cause more than 100,000 house fires in the United States that result in more than 600 fatalities and thousands of injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) lighted tobacco products are the leading cause of fatal fires in the home.

“Everyone needs to understand the real risks of smoking and lighting candles. These are open heat sources that can rapidly ignite things such as curtains and furniture,” says CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

Candle Safety

  • CCFR recommends using battery-operated candles.
  • Candles need to be:
    • At least a foot away from anything that can burn (curtains, walls, lamps, etc.)
    • Attended at all times
    • Used in sturdy, enclosed candleholders
    • Placed in areas where they cannot be tipped over
    • Avoided in homes where oxygen is used
  • In the event of a power outage use flashlights, or other battery-operated power, not candles to light your home.

Click here to learn more from NFPA.

Smoking Safety

  • Smoke outside
  • Never dispose of smoking materials in a plastic container or plastic trash bag
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table
  • Douse ashes and cigarette butts with water before throwing them away
  • Avoid smoking in homes where oxygen is used
  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.

Click here to learn more from NFPA.

Shamrock’s Fire

Shamrock's fire

Cooking oils in the terry cloth towels caused the fire at Shamrock’s Pub & Grill.

St. Peters, MO (June 13, 2013)- Towels and rags are the likely cause of a fire that resulted in an estimated $25,000 in building and property damages to the Shamrock’s Pub & Grill at 4177 Veterans Memorial Parkway St. Peters, MO 63376.

Around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11 Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) firefighters arrived on the scene of the two-alarm fire. “Fortunately, the fire was contained to the storage room, and no one was injured,” says CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

Security camera footage assisted in determining the apparent cause; a pile of towels that had been removed from the dryer and placed on a counter. “Hours later, after the restaurant closed, the video footage shows the pile of towels starting to smolder, then bursts into open flames,” says Mason.

The determination is that the cotton terrycloth towels that had contained cooking-oils caused the spontaneous combustion. Extensive smoke and equipment damage will likely cause the restaurant to be closed for at least a month.

“A normal washer and dryer cannot completely clean the cooking-oils from rags and towels. When they are piled together, especially after being in the heat of a dryer, they have the potential to spontaneously combust because the heat has no way to escape,” says Mason.

CCFR recommends businesses use a commercial laundry service to avoid these types of fires. If laundry is done on-site follow these tips:
– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on all cleaning supplies and equipment
– Store laundry in a cool, well ventilated space
– Dry laundry at a cool temperature
– Do not leave soiled or freshly laundered items in a pile

Home Fires Increase

Nearly 150 people have already lost their lives to home fires in the United States this month. This is 24 more than were reported Jan. 1 – 16 of last year.

 

 

“As temperatures fall in January, February and March we usually see an increase in home fires,” says Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Chief Russ Mason. “Cooking and home heating equipment are usually the culprits.”

CCFR has responded to seven structure fires since Jan. 1, which is three more than last year. Five of these were residential, while two were commercial, no lives have been lost.

Nationwide, many of this year’s fatal fires remain under investigation, but space heaters, candles and cooking are among the causes suspected in a number of these incidents, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

“The most alarming part of these fire deaths is that most of them are preventable,” says Mason. “Keeping anything that could catch fire at least three feet away from anything that generates heat, such as candles, stovetops and ovens, fireplaces and cigarettes, along with a having a working smoking detector in each room is a great first step to home fire prevention.”

Of the 148 people killed, 28 were children and 50 were older adults. Two Missourians, a 41 year-old woman from Kansas City and a 45 year-old man from Bell City were among the victims.

Winter home fire safety tips:

  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food.
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of snow and ice to allow carbon monoxide to vent outside.
  • Have your furnace, heating system and chimneys serviced each year by a qualified professional.
  • Only use battery operated candles.
  • Dispose of fireplace ashes and smoking materials in a metal trash can at least six feet away from the house.

Dishwasher Fire

Recalled Dishwasher Causes $70,000 In Damages.

CCFR encourages registering products for recall awareness.

When a St. Peters resident left a home on Hidden Lake Drive last week there were no clues that a running dishwasher inside the house was a fire waiting to happen. Two hours later, the kitchen was engulfed in flames, with smoke spewing from the first and second floor windows.

“It is estimated that the fire caused $70,000 in damages to the home and it’s contents,” says Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Chief Russ Mason. “Luckily, no one was injured in the blaze.”

Further investigation showed that the appliance was part of recall that was issued by BSH Home Appliances Corporation for Bosch® and Siemens® Model Dishwashers in January 2009. An electrical component in the dishwashers have a problem with overheating, posing a fire risk.

“This particular fire highlights the importance of registering any product you bring into your home,” says Mason. “The information you provide allows companies to contact you with important safety recall details, sometimes years after you have purchased a product.”

There is no evidence to show the dishwasher that caused the fire was registered, and the owners were not aware of the recall.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides regular product recall information on their website http://www.cpsc.gov. “It is a good idea to look through the recalls to make sure you don’t have any of these dangerous products in your house,” says Mason.