It only takes a second.
On Monday afternoon, Central County Fire & Rescue received a call for a grease fire at a home on Trailview Avenue in St. Peters. When firefighters arrived, the fire had been extinguished, but they checked the scene to ensure the fire did not spread into the walls or ceiling, and also helped ventilate the smoke from the fire out of the house.
“Just because the flames are not visible doesn’t mean that the fire is out. In a case like this, the team will check behind the cabinets and in the surrounding area to make sure that there is no fire in the walls or other places that cannot be seen,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says.
Fortunately, no one was injured, but when the smoke cleared, a cast iron pan was sitting upon a shattered stove top. The built-in microwave and surrounding cabinets were also damaged by the flames and smoke.
After a short investigation, firefighters learned the homeowner was preparing lunch and heating cooking oil in the cast iron pan. He stepped away for a moment to let his dog outside and smoke a cigarette, and then he heard his smoke alarms ringing. He turned to go back inside and discovered flames shooting from the pan up into the microwave and above the cabinets. He immediately called 911 and went to his garage to get the fire extinguisher. Unfortunately the fire extinguisher did not work, but the homeowner was able to extinguish the fire.
“The homeowner did the right thing by calling 911 immediately before attempting to extinguish the fire by himself,” Brown says. “Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. This is a good reminder to stay in the kitchen, and to make sure your fire extinguishers are not expired.”
Fire Extinguisher Safety Tip: Check the gauge, and learn how to operate before you need it.