One person was injured and two homes were damaged April 4 in separate kitchen fires in the St. Peters area.
Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) responded to a fire on Ridgelawn Drive at the Ridgewood Apartments that was started by the misuse of a microwave, as well as a fire started by unattended cooking on Willott Square Drive at the Willott Square Townhomes.
“The kitchen is a dangerous place, many of us forget this when we are cooking every day,” CCFR Chief Dan Aubuchon says. “Something as simple as an unattended pan on the stove can quickly spread into a roaring fire like we saw yesterday.”
Foil in the microwave started the fire at the Ridgewood Apartments. The blaze at the Willott Square Townhomes began when cooking food was left unattended on the stove. One person was injured in the Willott Square fire; the victim was treated and released from the hospital Wednesday night.
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which tracks nationwide fire statistics.
“Many people injured during these fires are hurt while trying to put them out,” Aubuchon says. “If you experience a cooking fire, do not try to extinguish it on your own. Leave the room and close the door, then get everyone out of the house and then call 911.
“The best thing you can do is take the time to prevent this from happening in your home.”
CCFR recommends the following kitchen safety tips to prevent cooking fires:
- If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, do not leave the kitchen.
- Wear short sleeves, or push up your shirt sleeves, to prevent clothing fires.
- Establish a 3′ child-free safety zone around any cooking appliances.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop and turn the stove off when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period.
- Use a timer when simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food and check it often.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you have a grease fire, do not use water! Place a lid over the fire to help extinguish it.