Reports show cooking to be leading cause of residential fires in Kansas

By Jeremiah Cook
Four States News – September 5, 2018

Video

Nationally, the leading cause of residential fires is smoking. But in Kansas, it’s something all of us do every day that’s actually resulted in the most home fires.

According to the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, it’s cooking. And Parsons Fire Chief Jay Hawks says while not all kitchen fires result in losing your home, they can still lead to injuries. For example, Hawks says fire fighters recently responded to a home where a person was heating up oil to cook, when it got too hot and caught fire.

“One of the first reactions that we do is we want to put out the fire, so she grabbed the pan and went to move it to the sink, and in doing so spilled that hot oil on a foot,” says Chief Jay Hawks.

And Chief Hawks says that’s just one example.

“Cooking fires create a lot of injuries,” says Chief Hawks.

And according to the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, they’re the most common cause of fires in Sunflower State homes. In Parsons, Hawks says cooking only accounts for about twelve percent of fires. But in Columbus, lead driver Jaden Tedlock says it’s a different story.

“I’d probably say half, if not a third of our fires are probably kitchen fires,” says Jaden Tedlock.

Tedlock says the problems usually come when someone gets distracted.

“A lot of it, people start cooking, and then they just leave the room. I guess the top tip would be to tell people to stay in the kitchen while they’re cooking,” says Tedlock.

Another good way to help reduce your risk is to take extra precautions with oil.

“Anything you’re going to fry in oil, make sure it’s completely thawed and dry it off before you put it in. It’s the water that’s reacting and splattering all over,” says Chief Jay Hawks.

And if an oil fire does break out….

“As long as it’s in a pan, and the flames are very low, you can slip a lid over it and it smothers the fire,” says Chief Hawks.

Tedlock says the stove top isn’t the only place fires can break out. For example, something in your oven could begin to burn. If that happens, he says….

“Close the oven. If you see a fire, close it and let it smother itself out,” says Jaden Tedlock.

Hawks and Tedlock both say the best thing to do, no matter what, is call 911. They say it’s a lot easier for them to get to a call and find the fire already put out than it is for them to get there too late to save your home.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
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