Cooking caused 40 percent of residential fires in 2008
Almost without exception, cooking fires are preventable, and yet cooking remains the number-one cause of residential fires in Minnesota. Of more than 5,000 home fires last year, 40 percent started in the kitchen. With the Thanksgiving holiday here, State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl is reminding people about potential dangers in the kitchen.
It takes mere seconds for a pan of oil or a carelessly-tossed dishtowel to ignite, and an unattended stove is the reason for most kitchen fires, according to Rosendahl. "Last year, about 2,000 Minnesotans walked away from the stove for just a moment," he says. "The result was more than $2 million in damage."
Rosendahl says these safety tips should be followed at Thanksgiving time and year-round:
Find someone to watch the stove for you. Do not leave cooking unattended, even for a second.
Keep pot holders, dishtowels, food packaging and clothing away from burners.
Grease and oil ignite easily. Watch hot skillets; clean stove hoods and other equipment regularly.
Ban children from a three-foot "safe zone" around the stove.
Keep matching lids handy when you put pans on the stove. Smother stovetop fires with a pot lid. Never use water; it will cause a grease fire to expand.
"And please, no matter where you are - at your home or that of another - check the smoke alarms to be sure they work. Holiday distractions can cause people to forget about fire safety. Working smoke alarms are never distracted."