Experts warn against grease fires during holiday cooking

Thousands of kitchen fires ignite each year


As thousands of families prepare their holiday meals, fire experts are warning people to be mindful of grease fires in the kitchen.

Experts said it takes just seconds for an unwatched pot on the stove to burst into flames

Federal statistics show more than 2,000 homes catch on fire each Thanksgiving, and nearly 70 percent of those fires start in the kitchen.

For homeowners Joe and Julia Ancrum, melting candle wax started the fire that destroyed their kitchen.

"The flames were very high. I flipped (the candle) into the water and (the fire) went up all the way to the ceiling," Julia Ancrum said.

The flames hit the drapes and smoke filled the house, causing more than $200,000 in damages.

Experts advised homeowners to remember key points when trying to douse a grease fire, including not moving a burning pan, and not trying to douse a grease fire with water.

Firefighters said adding water to a grease fire is the worst thing a homeowner can do.

In most cases, a fire can be extinguished on the stove by covering it with a lid. Leave the lid on until the pan cools as fresh air can reignite the flames, officials said.

For added safety, experts recommend installing stove top fire stops. The tiny cans cover two burners each and hand magnetically from the stove's hooded vent.

As the flames reach the can, they ignite a tiny red fuse. The can pops open and releases a powdered chemical to snuff out the fire.

The Ancrums said they now have the stove top fire stops installed in the kitchen.

"This would have prevented the fire had we knew things like this," Julia Ancrum said. 

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