This May 2012, the Houston Fire Department (HFD) responded to at
least eight fires related to cooking. The cause of the fires
included unattended cooking, burned food and cooking with grease.
Although there were no reported injuries, the fires caused a
combined $65,500 in damage.
HFD reminds residents that cooking is the number one cause of
residential fires and is preventable by following these safety
- Use a moderate cooking temperature
- Don't overfill the container
- If you must leave the kitchen, turn the burner off (Unattended
cooking is the primary cause of kitchen fires. Over half of these
are grease/oil fires.)
- Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. Curious
children may reach up and grab the handle, pulling the hot contents
down on themselves.
- Don't position handle over another burner, it may catch on fire
or burn someone who touches it.
- Wear short sleeves or tight fitting long sleeves when cooking
to reduce a clothing fire hazard.
- If you have long hair, secure it, so it doesn't fall onto a hot
burner or into gas flames.
- Shield yourself from scalding steam when lifting lids from hot
- Make sure pot holders are not too close to the stove. They
could catch fire!
- Keep ovens, broilers, stove tops, and exhaust ducts free from
- If there is a fire in the oven - Turn off the oven and keep the
oven door closed.
- Always, have a working smoke detector!
- Over half the people attempting to extinguish a kitchen fire
are injured. Often the best advice is to get everyone out of the
house and call the fire department (911) from a neighbor's
- Never try to move the pan, don't throw water on it, and don't
put flour on it.
- If you attempt to extinguish the fire, it is best to use a
class ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher. Follow the manufacturer's
instructions - stay back 6 to 8 feet and be careful not to spray
the grease out of the pan. Baking soda can also smother the fire.
If the fire has not burned for more than fifteen seconds, it may
still be possible to turn the burner off and use a tight fitting
lid to smother the fire, but only if the fire is still small and
has not spread beyond the pan.