I am writing this at 8:00pm, January 30th, 2011.
“That is a lot of smoke.” I am cooking bacon to go with our blueberry pancake dinner. It’s late. I read too long and chatted with my mom a little too long.
I open the oven door. Smoke billows out, but I don’t see anything. So, I close the oven door.
More smoke comes out from the vent. I remember it’s been a while since I last turned on the auto-clean.
Then, I also reflect on last night’s meatloaf that seeped over the sides of the loaf pan. (Note to self, ix-nay the milk in that recipe.)
“Uh, Peter,” I call to my husband who is on the phone with his father. “Will you take a look at this?” I begin to sound panicked.
I open the oven door. Even more smoke billows out. I close it. Then, I see orange.
I shout at Levi to LEAVE the kitchen and go to the living room. Panic mode entering, more.
I open it for him, and now the entire bottom of the oven is caked in flames. I stand, agape, my jaw slack, in frightened awe.
“What do you do with a fire in the oven?” Peter asks his father. Peter repeats, “Smother it.”
I hear, close the oven door. “Right, no oxygen,” clicks my brain as the wheels begin to turn. I turn the oven off.
“Pour water on it,” suggests my husband.
“NO!” I shout!
“My dad says put a towel on it,” offers Peter.
I don’t respond, except by shaking my head. I stand holding the door closed, as if the flames will leap from around. Suddenly thankful we have a modern stove. With insulation to accommodate the self-clean function. (You know, the function that allows the oven to reach (sometimes) upwards of 900 degrees, Fahrenheit.) Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember baking soda.
About a minute passes, the smoke from the vent decreases, there is no more orange gleaming. I wait. When the smoke continues to dwindle, I cautiously open the oven door – no flames.
But, oh, there is smoke. Everywhere, there is smoke. Mostly, of course, in the kitchen. So, I open more windows. I instruct Peter to open some, and help with the fans. I demand the doors remain open. That was a lot of smoke.
It’s now, about an hour later. The double-smoked bacon tastes pretty good. I wouldn’t recommend the cooking though: buy smoked bacon, heat oven to 425, ensure bottom is greasy, wait 7 minutes, let the fire do the work. No, I could definitely do with NOT repeating this adventure.
How to Put Out Kitchen Fires
When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is. Follow these instructions for putting out kitchen fires:
- If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
- If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
- If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
- If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
- Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
- If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
- Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
- Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
- Use a fire extinguisher.
- Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
- If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.
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