If you encounter a kitchen stove fire, turn off the gas supply. If the fire is small, you should extinguish it using a fire extinguisher. In case of a large unmanageable fire, evacuate the room and contact emergency services immediately.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, ranges or cooktops were the cause of 61% of home fires. It is, therefore, important to be safe while using a kitchen stove to prevent any injuries to yourself and your family.
In this article, I will focus on the main causes of kitchen stove fires and how to prevent them. I have also added a list of steps you should take if there is a fire at your stove. Read to the end because I will also answer some FAQs at the end.
Causes Of Kitchen Stove Fire
Let’s start by discussing the main causes of a stove fire.
Cooking Food Left Unattended
Since everyone is busy and multitasking nowadays, it is very common that you might leave your cooking food on the stove unattended. Leaving your cooking food on the stove unattended may lead to the food losing all its water. Once it passes a certain temperature, it can catch fire. This fire can get quite serious if not dealt with quickly.
Using Oil During Cooking And Frying
Frying using oil is another common cause of kitchen stove fires. If you are frying, you must ensure that the oil temperature doesn’t get too high. If it does, the oil will likely catch fire.
If you accidentally pour too much or spill over some oil, the oil’s chance of catching fire increases. Therefore, you must exercise caution while frying your food or using ingredients such as oil, grease, or other forms of fat.
The Cooking Temperature Is Excessive
A common mistake beginners might make is setting the cooking temperature too high. Not only does it increase the chance of the food getting overcooked, but it also increases the risk of the stove catching fire.
Even if you are in a hurry, you should not set the temperature of your stove too high since it can get very dangerous. Always cook at an optimum temperature that is neither too high nor too low. A moderate temperature cooks most foods to a great texture and taste.
Wearing Loose-fitting Clothes And Having Untied Hair
If your clothes are loose or your hair is untied, they might come in contact with the flames from the stove. This can be extremely dangerous since clothes come directly in contact with your skin. In addition to that, the fire can spread to other parts of your kitchen through your clothes.
Having Flammable Compounds Near The Stove
Every kitchen has several flammable items, including paper towels, wooden utensils, cupboards and drawers, napkins, oils, and air fresheners. They might get knocked onto your stove and catch fire if they are close to it. Some of these items are extremely flammable and can cause serious damage.
Issues With The Stove
If your stove isn’t functioning properly or has a gas leak, the risk of a stove fire is substantially increased. As gas leaks into your kitchen through your oven or stove, not only can it start a fire in your kitchen. As gas spreads to other parts of your house, it can jeopardize the safety of everyone in your family.
Not Having A Fire Extinguisher
Every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher. Even the smallest of fires can spread rather quickly if not controlled. A fire extinguisher can prevent injuries and burns and help you control the spread of fire. Add a fire blanket, and you know you are ready for any fire that may start in your kitchen.
What To Do In Case Of A Stove Fire?
Here’s a list of steps you should take whenever there’s a fire at your kitchen stove:
- Ensure the safety of yourself and your family: This is the most important step. If your clothes are on fire, you should remove them immediately. Make sure everyone in the house is safe from the fire. If the fire gets too large and unmanageable, immediately evacuate the house with your family.
- Do not allow fire to spread from the kitchen: You must close the kitchen door while putting out a fire. This will prevent fire from spreading to other areas of your house. Unless you put out the fire using a fire extinguisher, you should leave the room and shut the door tight. This will cause the fire to use up all the oxygen in the room, eventually going out on its own.
- Cover the container: If the container or pan you are cooking catches fire, you should cover it. This also deprives the fire of oxygen and causes the fire to go out.
- Use a fire extinguisher: If you cannot cover the container, use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
- Use baking soda or salt: If a fire extinguisher is unavailable or has stopped working, you should use alternatives like baking soda or salt, which you should throw at the fire. If you cook using oil, do NOT throw water on the fire. Water repels oil and grease. Since water and oil are immiscible, splashing water onto it would cause the fire to spread. You may also use a damp towel to extinguish the fire or the fire blanket if you have one.
- Call the fire department: If the fire is not manageable, you should contact 911, explain the situation, and ask for immediate action.
- Clean the burnt residue after the fire: After the fire has been managed, you should use baking soda and water to thoroughly clean the stove to remove any burnt residue. You may also follow it up with cleaning using vinegar for a more thorough cleaning.
How To Prevent Kitchen Stove Fires
Now that we have discussed the causes and how you should deal with a kitchen stove fire let’s see how you can prevent these fires:
Do Not Leave A Functioning Stove Unattended
Since leaving your stove unattended is a common cause of a kitchen fire, you must avoid doing other activities while cooking. Your focus should be on the cooking to ensure you recognize a fire as soon as it starts. This will ensure that you extinguish the fire while it is still manageable.
Remove Flammable Materials From The Cooking Area
Combustible materials can easily catch fire if you, your children, the wind, or your pets accidentally knock them onto the stove. You should avoid placing any such materials near your stove.
Keep Kids Away From The Kitchen
The kitchen area should not be accessible to kids when they are not supervised. A child might accidentally set the temperature too high or spill some flammable material onto the stove, leading to drastic consequences. While cooking, you should have someone watch over your kids so you can cook without any distractions, and the safety of your children is ensured.
Always Have A Fire Extinguisher Ready
Fire extinguishers can quickly extinguish a fire and prevent it from spreading and harming you and your family. Always have a functional fire extinguisher ready in your kitchen at all times. Keep a regular check on the functioning of the fire extinguisher and replace the ones that have expired.
Clean Cooking Equipment Regularly
Cooking equipment might have grease stains left if not cleaned regularly. As a result, these can become a fire hazard. You should thoroughly clean your kitchen stove regularly to prevent debris buildup.
Avoid Loose Clothing While Cooking
Wearing clothes that are not too loose can prevent them from catching fire. You should also wear a fireproof apron while cooking to save your clothes and thus yourself from the stove fire.
Avoid Cooking When Tired
If you are feeling exhausted, you should avoid cooking. You might accidentally set the temperature too high or spill something that might catch fire if you are not fully concentrating on what you are doing. You can ask someone else to cook or order something from a restaurant.
Do Not Use A Stove That Is Not Functioning Properly
If your stove isn’t working properly or if you smell gas, you should not use the stove. You should immediately close the gas supply to your stove and evacuate the kitchen or even your house if you sense a gas leak. Contact the fire department to look at the situation after ensuring the safety of yourself and your family.
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These products may also be available at fireplace shops in your area. You can simply Google “fireplace shops near me” to quickly find the location of these to test out the product for yourself.
Uncontrolled fires can harm you and your family. You should avoid the hazards of a kitchen stove fire by taking preventative measures. These include wearing proper clothing, not diverting your attention while cooking, and always having a fire extinguisher or blanket ready.
In case of a fire, you should use the fire extinguisher or alternatives such as baking soda and salt to put out the fire. Always ensure the safety of your family members first. If the fire gets uncontrollable, contact emergency services immediately.
1. Why is my stove on fire?
Your stove can catch fire if you have turned the temperature too high. Using excessive oils or leaving the food for cooking too long may also result in a fire. You may start an uncontrolled fire if you accidentally spill flammable substances onto your stove.
2. Why is my stove fire so hot?
A stove fire can get excessively hot if you have set the temperature too high. While frying, the fire might get excessively hot if you add too much oil or grease. Additionally, spilling flammable materials onto the stove can cause the fire to get too hot.
3. How to put out a stove fire?
The methods to put out a stove fire include:
- Using baking soda or salt
- Covering the cooking pan using a lid
- Placing a wet towel over the flame
- Placing a fire blanket over the fire
- Using a fire extinguisher to put out the fire
4. Can I cook food while my stove is on fire?
You should not attempt to cook if your stove is on fire. This is because the fire can harm you, as cooking may exacerbate the fire even more. It is important that you put out the fire and ensure the safety of your family first. Once the fire has been extinguished and all the burnt debris has been cleaned and cleared, you can cook your food again using your stove.