SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - 20% of all house fires in Springfield start in the kitchen. Fire and Life Safety Educator at the Springfield Fire Department, Cara Irwin, said, “cooking fires are the number one cause of fires, not just during the holidays, but all year long here in Springfield.”
Irwin said the fire department will see a few fires over the holiday weekend. "It's a lot of people gathering in smaller spaces, a lot of cooking, a lot of unwrapping gifts, lots of fire hazards, and people are just sort of off guard cause they are relaxed and having fun. So yes, we tend to have some fires on Christmas Day,” said Irwin. “Around the holidays, we do have more cooking fires, but fires are a problem all year around,” Irwin continued.
Irwin demonstrated what you should, and should not, do if you have a fire in your kitchen. If it is on the stovetop, you should not pick up the fire and move it. Irwin says that brings more oxygen to the fire and makes it grown. Irwin says you also should avoid bringing it to the sink. Water and oil do not mix, this would actually make the fire worse.
You should take a tight fitting lid and slide it over the top of the pot or pan. Next, you’ll want to turn off the heat. By doing that, you take away two of the three things fire needs to survive. “Fire needs oxygen, fuel, and heat,” said Irwin. “When you slide the lid on, you are taking away the oxygen … when you turn off the stove, you are getting rid of the heat.”
Irwin says to always keep in mind the element of oxygen. If there is a fire in a microwave or oven, you’ll want to keep the door of the appliance closed.
Irwin says that no matter what, you should always evacuate the house and call the fire department. Irwin says it is also important to have a fire extinguisher in your home, and near the kitchen, at all times.