Following kitchen fires, Church Hill fire chief urges cooking safety

Jeff Bobo • Mar 15, 2020 at 4:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — After two recent residential kitchen grease fires, the Church Hill Fire Department is asking the community to be more attentive while cooking.

CHFD Chief Luke Wood said one fire occurred last month on Gilda Avenue, and the other was on March 4 on Tipton Avenue near Volunteer High School.

Although there were no injuries in either case, both houses sustained heavy damage and will need their interiors gutted and replaced.

“In both fires, the occupants of the home had left a pot of grease on the stove, and that was what started the fire in those homes,” Wood told the Times News last week. “Myself and Police Chief Chad Mosley have both noticed an increase in cooking fires, not just in Church Hill, but all across the region.”

Wood added, “Folks just aren’t being attentive, and I felt like we needed to remind people to be more cautious and alert in the kitchen. It could happen to anybody, and we wanted to put some safety tips out there to remind everybody what can happen.”

National Fire Protection Association tips for cooking safety in your home

1. Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

2. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.

3. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

4. Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

5. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

What to do if you have a cooking fire

1. Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

2. Call 911 or the local emergency number after you leave.

3. If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.

4. Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

5. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Wood also encourages all home owners to check their smoke alarms, which should be replaced if they are 10 years old. Another way to apply fire safety awareness is to ensure that the family has a fire escape plan for the home.

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