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Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:23 PM

With fire in the headlines, I suggest you do this NOW! Personal Story

Last edited Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:06 PM - Edit history (1)

This is absolutely the best advice I have and hope it gets passed along to as many people as possible.

My story is that I was making toast with melted cheese in a toaster oven. I left the kitchen in my apartment to get a towel from a linen closet just around the corner from the kitchen - I was away less than 2 minutes. When I came back to the kitchen I froze in my tracks because there was a roaring fire in the oven and flames were shooting up 18". What paralyzed me was seeing the flames just inches away from dried flowers on a shelf above the toaster oven. Disaster was effing imminent.

It was a matter of pure luck that a neighbour who recently moved left me among other things a large box of Baking Soda (something I normally don't have) so I grabbed it and opened the oven door and emptied the entire box.

The fire was successfully extinguished so my advice is to fill a container like a large yogurt container (something with a lid you easily rip off) with either 1 large box of Baking Soda or 2 regular size boxes, label it and leave it away from any stove and within easy reach like in a corner by the doorway. I would suggest doing that even if you have a fire extinguisher and I'll tell you why.

If I had had an extinguisher I think given my state of shock and paralysis that I would have fumbled and lost precious seconds trying to figured out how to use it. Those seconds matter. With the box of Baking Soda all I had to do was dump the contents it into the oven and that I could manage.

I think one has to take into account that one might freeze in panic when faced with an unexpected fire so one needs options - have an extinguisher but have the Baking Soda option as well.

What was shocking is that the fire happened so fast that the smoke detector didn't go off because there wasn't enough time for smoke to accumulate. Had I been gone one minute more the dried flowers probably would have caught fire and become a torch. If that had happened the whole kitchen would have been shortly engulfed in flames.

Scary stuff.



So fill a container now and set it aside. Having unopened boxes in the back of a shelf is not an option because seconds absolutely count.

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply With fire in the headlines, I suggest you do this NOW! Personal Story (Original post)
zooks Nov 2018 OP
pnwmom Nov 2018 #1
zooks Nov 2018 #2
pnwmom Nov 2018 #5
irisblue Nov 2018 #3
SWBTATTReg Nov 2018 #4
zooks Nov 2018 #9
Nictuku Nov 2018 #6
Shanti Mama Nov 2018 #7
zooks Nov 2018 #8
eallen Nov 2018 #10
displacedtexan Nov 2018 #11
Sherman A1 Nov 2018 #12
displacedtexan Nov 2018 #14
eallen Nov 2018 #15
displacedtexan Nov 2018 #23
deurbano Nov 2018 #33
Silver Gaia Nov 2018 #34
Silver Gaia Nov 2018 #37
deurbano Nov 2018 #36
jaxind Nov 2018 #13
BigmanPigman Nov 2018 #16
Tipperary Nov 2018 #24
BigmanPigman Nov 2018 #25
Tipperary Nov 2018 #40
BigmanPigman Nov 2018 #41
Tipperary Nov 2018 #42
shanti Nov 2018 #39
Mr.Bill Nov 2018 #17
zooks Nov 2018 #21
cab67 Nov 2018 #18
zooks Nov 2018 #19
Tipperary Nov 2018 #26
zooks Nov 2018 #29
zooks Nov 2018 #30
cab67 Nov 2018 #35
moreland01 Nov 2018 #20
zooks Nov 2018 #22
llmart Nov 2018 #28
pansypoo53219 Nov 2018 #27
PoindexterOglethorpe Nov 2018 #31
Silver Gaia Nov 2018 #32
Meowmee Nov 2018 #38
ecstatic Nov 2018 #43

Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:29 PM

1. Except you're not supposed to open an oven door if there's a fire.

That would be good for a burner fire, though.

I'm glad you didn't get hurt!

https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/how-to-put-out-kitchen-fire

If something catches fire in the oven or broiler…

Do NOT open the oven door. Shut the whole thing off and back away. If you open the door, "You'll burn your face or set your hair on fire," warns Mancuso. Fire needs oxygen to thrive, and you'll only be fanning the flames—literally—by opening the door. "The fire will eventually die down if you just turn the oven off," he explains. Stay in the room and keep an eye on things through the window of your oven. Once it's cooled completely you can clean things up.

If the fire's on the stovetop…

A stovetop fire is a bit more dangerous, explains Mancuso. Remember that all fires need oxygen to burn, so your best plan of attack is to cut off the oxygen supply to the pan or pot. Keep a lid next to the oven in case of fire. Should flames erupt, snuff them before they get too large by just covering the pan. If that doesn't work, pour baking soda (yes, you'll need a lot) on the fire. This will stifle the flames. If that doesn't work you have two options: Call the fire department or use your fire extinguisher.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:34 PM

2. Interesting info but the article refers to a regular oven which has a heavy door

this was a toaster oven with the door ajar because I was using the broiler function. Different size fire. That said it'd be interesting to know what pros say about fires in toaster ovens.

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Response to zooks (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:41 PM

5. Well, if your door was ALREADY open, that would be different.

But I didn't want anyone to get the idea they should open a regular door. They should be able to contain the fire IF THE OVEN'S TURNED OFF.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:39 PM

3. Mine is wrapped in alum foil, in plain sight. Good idea Zooks

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:40 PM

4. Smart advise, as well as that in another post about opening the oven door (don't) and ...

keep lids handy, etc. I always always keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge, for air quality, so you can do a double function here. Thanks for the tips.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 04:29 PM

9. Honestly I would take that box from the fridge and put it in a container

to be used only to extinguish because seconds really count. What if its at the back of the fridge? I think you need something immediately at hand. What if one regular box isn't enough? It took a kilogram box to douse the fire I had.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:43 PM

6. Similar story

Last year I was evacuated for 8 days during the Napa fires, so we are extremely cautious when it comes to fires in my neighborhood. It is crispy, dry, and we should have had rain by now!

But last year, (not during a red flag, and after the rains had started some) I had been grilling some hamburgers on the back patio and suddenly the inside of the grill had caught fire!!! It was a grease fire (this is why you should only use lean hamburger!).

I know that panic feeling, you just want to put it out asap! So I grabbed the closest thing I could find (I knew better than to use water on an oil fire), and that was kitty litter! I keep the spare litter in the garage.

Yes, I had quite a mess when all was said and done, (the litter was clean litter, but still, kitty litter in the grill? Yuck)

It put the fire out immediately, and was worth the cleanup.

Every time the wind picks up, we are all Nervous Nellies at my place. And after hearing about the narrow escapes, and god forbid deaths of people who couldn't escape, we are even more nervous.

Come on Rain! My heart goes out to those who have lost everything. Fires are terrifying.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 03:53 PM

7. Fire blankets?

My friend had a fire blanket in his kitchen, hanging in a package on the wall across from the stove. He's Aussie and says everyone has them there.

Any thoughts?

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Response to Shanti Mama (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 04:23 PM

8. I know of them but never knew anyone who had one.

I think they would be easier to use than an extinguisher HOWEVER lets say the dried flowers I had on a shelf caught fire, an extinguisher would have been better than blanket or baking soda for that matter because of the height of the shelf.

An extinguisher is probably the most adaptable. That said I would still have more than one option. The thing about having a canister of baking soda at hand is that it is very affordable for anyone on a budget.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 04:38 PM

10. The handheld extinguishers are really easy

Pull the pin, point, squeeze the handle.

Don't hesitate to grab one. They're designed to be easy.

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Response to eallen (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 04:55 PM

11. We have the PASS instructions posted by the extinguisher...

"Discharge the extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S. technique (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep). Back away from an extinguished fire in case it flames up again."

PULL
AIM
SQEEZE
SWEEP (Back and forth movement)

BTW, our air here in SF is worse today because of the Camp Fires than it was yesterday. You can feel the fine ash on your lips when you go outside, and the sky is opaque.

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Response to displacedtexan (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:04 PM

12. And remember you have maybe

30 seconds to make it work and put out the fire, after that it's time to look for the exit and get moving.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:22 PM

14. Good advice! I also have a 25lb container of flour in the kitchen.

And I'm very fortunate to be 4 blocks away from the fire station/EMT and police station. Those of us in earthquake zones tend to over-prepare for things.

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Response to displacedtexan (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:26 PM

15. Flour is flammable. And flour dust is explosive.

Google it.


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Response to eallen (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:43 PM

23. My mother used it for small grease fires on the stove top.

I'll definitely google it! Thanks!

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Response to displacedtexan (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:33 PM

33. The air quality is horrible. SF State is closed, but my daughter's public high school isn't.

(And her high school is very close to SF State.) My husband just got a robocall from the school district, but he wasn't paying enough attention at first, and didn't understand it. Something like administrative offices are closed... and maybe after-school programs?

Looks like Armageddon (ish) outside, and that smell in the air... Our air purifiers are working overtime.

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Response to displacedtexan (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:41 PM

34. It's terrible in Sacramento today, too.

Our air quality index is 279 right now. That's the worst it has been.

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Response to Silver Gaia (Reply #34)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 07:55 PM

37. It's up to 313 in the Hazardous range in Sac now.

I've watched it rise all day, and expect it to rise more. I've heard that schools are closing here tomorrow. Breathing is not easy, even in my house, and my eyes burn. My daughter says the sir smells like burnt rubber where she is.

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Response to displacedtexan (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 07:19 PM

36. Apparently the message from the school district was that SF schools are closed tomorrow.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:12 PM

13. My experience

I had a fire in my toaster oven. I used parchment paper on the baking tray...bad idea! The toaster oven is too small for that. The paper ended up catching on fire... very scary stuff!! I turned off the toaster oven and kept the door closed and the fire died out!

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:26 PM

16. That happened to me and I did the same thing!

I was waiting for a pot of oil to get hot and had a candy thermometer in it to check. I left the kitchen for a minute and the fire alarm went off... the pot of oil was on fire..a tube of fire was shooting straight up to the ceiling. There was no way I could put a lid on it due to the thermometer sticking out. I have a fire hydrant (I mean extinguisher) but would have to read the directions. I know not to use water to put oil fires out so I remembered hearing about baking soda one of my cooking shows. I have a box in the fridge and one in the freezer and dumped both on the blaze and it was out.

The fire literally melted my above-stove microwave and I had to repaint the kitchen ceiling hand wall. The stuff in a fire extinguisher is what baking soda contains.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:45 PM

24. A fire hydrant?

 

Huh?

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Response to Tipperary (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:49 PM

25. Extinguisher...you know what I meant.

My brain hurts...3 day migraine. The Botox injections don't work 100%.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 08:25 PM

40. They are really easy. Seriously, watch a YouTube.

 

Not being snarky. I have had to use one twice. I was very glad I had them at hand. But, when you go to buy them look to see what type fire the hydrant ( sorry, I am totally stealing that now!) is meant for...electrical, grease, etc. I keep one in the kitchen and one near my well pump , where I once had wires spark up scaring me to death.

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Response to Tipperary (Reply #40)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 08:30 PM

41. I have one just for the kitchen,

I read the ingredients after I used the baking soda and my brother in law told me they both are basically the same stuff and he was right. I have to check to see if it is expired or not...I hear that that happens and they are too "old" to work.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #41)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 08:40 PM

42. Yeah, there is a little arrow that moves from green into the red.

 

Some even have the words on them. Your fire department will check them for you for free. A lot easier to clean up after than a pound box of baking soda! Main thing for me is the safety - you stand at a distance to the fire and spray. I would not want to get close enough to a fire to pour a box of baking soda on it!

That being said, baking soda is fantastic for so many things that I always have boxes on hand.

That

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 08:25 PM

39. Had something like that happen before

I was heating up some oil in a pan for taquitos, left the house for ONE minute, turned around and saw smoke, and came back in to fire shooting up. I immediately grabbed it and threw it in the sink, then put a baking sheet on it. The fire went out, but there was smoke damage on everything. Never did that again, heh.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:26 PM

17. I've put out kitchen grease fires with salt. n/t

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:37 PM

21. Good to know but but having a full container set aside to put out a fire

is what's important. Not leaving this to chance is critical.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:30 PM

18. most heavy powders will work for this.

A friend of mine stopped a modest fire on her stove top with corn starch. It's what she had within reach.

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Response to cab67 (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:35 PM

19. I've heard that flour is dangerous. Never knew about corn starch

I think the crucial thing is to have something ready in advance and not be in a situation where one has to rummage around looking for what one can use.

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Response to zooks (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:51 PM

26. People should know how to use extinguishers.

 

What is the point of having one of you are afraid to use it? They are simple. I was taught as a child how to use them. Watch a YouTube video - anything. It ain’t rocket science.

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Response to Tipperary (Reply #26)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:03 PM

29. People react differently. I'm no spring chicken but I froze when I was suddenly

confronted by this fire. Maybe if I had an extinguisher at hand I would have used it successfully but I felt so shocked and was shaking so much I really doubt I could have used it. This was the first time I've ever encountered something like this. If it were to happen again I may not be so panicked. Tossing baking soda was definitely within my capability and I expect that some people might not even be able to do that. Unless someone has faced something like this and has seen how he or she reacts I think it best to plan for several ways to attack a fire.

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Response to Tipperary (Reply #26)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:15 PM

30. One has to consider the cost. Extinguishers might be the best but not

not something everyone can afford. Baking soda is affordable, $1 a box. Its definitely better than nothing.

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Response to zooks (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 07:05 PM

35. flour and corn starch are flammable.

They work on smaller fires if they're dumped on the flames fast enough to completely cut off the oxygen supply.

Drop a sheet of paper on a lit match, and the paper catches fire. Drop the Manhattan white pages on a lit match, and the match goes out. Same principle.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:37 PM

20. Toaster Ovens

My last two toaster ovens have started electrical burn. The first time it was plugged in to the wall but no being used. The house smelled like electrical burning and we traced it to the timer in the toaster oven. The replacement oven started an electrical burn while we were using. Once again it was the time.

Our new toaster oven says on the instructions "unplug when not using", which we do every single time. And we never leave it unattended while cooking.

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Response to moreland01 (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:40 PM

22. Wow that is scary. I unplug my toaster now but only because I rarely use it

so its put in a cupboard but I use to leave it plugged in all the time. sheesh

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Response to moreland01 (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:57 PM

28. Toasters are equally dangerous.

I've always heard that you should unplug your toaster after each use.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:51 PM

27. after some popcorn i was reheating caught fire. i do not leave them unless on bake.

pulled the cheap pie tin out. hit the floor. old linoleum is awesome. no damage. also give old popcorn away. only eat fresh made. no fires, only burned w/ smoke billowing out.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:15 PM

31. Thanks for posting this.

While I've only had one grease fire, which I quickly extinguished with salt, I haven't really given as much thought as I should to the topic of fires.

I'm going to head out tomorrow and get a fire extinguisher, and buy an industrial sized box of baking soda.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 06:30 PM

32. Our mailman saved my life by doing this when I was home alone as a teenager.

We had learned how to make donuts in home ec class the day before. They didn't explain to us that a big pot of heated oil could catch fire, though. I was home by myself and thought I'd surprise my family with a yummy treat. So I got the donuts ready to cook, put a ton of oil in a big pot, turned the burner on high and walked away while I was waiting for it to heat. Dumb, right? But I was 14. Luckily, the mailman was turning around in our driveway when it caught fire. Luckily, that kitchen had big windows he could see into. Luckily, the garage door was open and the back door was unlocked. Luckily, I had left a box of baking soda on the counter. Luckily, the mailman knew what to do with that soda. There was smoke damage, but nothing caught fire. He saved my life, and I've never forgotten that baking soda puts out fires, and is the best way to put out grease fires.

Making a special handy shaker of soda to keep for emergencies is a GREAT idea! Thanks for the reminder! I will do this.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 08:16 PM

38. Good thing you caught in time

We had 3 toaster ovens catch on fire years ago, so I stopped using them years ago. I mostly use a nu wave burner now, I don't think it can cause a fire by cooking things. I don't remember how I put the toaster oven fires out now. But it’s a good idea not to have items nearby like the flowers that can easily spread the fire. I’m thinking more about possible fire hazards now after several cats perished a dvm office fire. And the terrible CA fires. I have to declutter things and have less wires around etc. and unplug things like electric tea kettles when we are out.

I was in a smoke fire in an apartment where I woke up in time and got me and my mom out fortunately. That one was in a dryer/ washer that was faulty.

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Response to zooks (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 08:51 PM

43. When disaster almost struck at my place, I couldn't figure out my extinguisher either

It was a candle/incense situation that got WAY out of control and was roaring in a large plastic container. I ended up grabbing a bucket of water and that put the fire out. Sadly, I still haven't taken the time to learn how to use the extinguisher, but the baking soda trick sounds a lot easier! I have the boxes that you put in the freezer/fridge.

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