Flames erupt within two minutes of heating vegetable oil in a pot. Langford fire prevention officers Chris Aubrey and Lance Caven sparked the grease fire that shot flames three feet in the air.
“It’s just enough oil to cook some chips,” said Caven. Water is possibly one of the most dangerous things to use on a grease fire. “Water will sink to the bottom, turn to steam and then turn into a huge fireball,” Caven said. There are three ways to safely put out a grease fire.
1. Using an oven mitt, put the lid back on the pot and turn off the heat. The fire may continue to burn for a while so keep the lid on and call the fire department even if you think the fire is out.
2. Slide a cookie sheet over the pot and turn off the heat. Leave it in place as the fire could still be burning. “Sometimes people try to carry the covered pot outside. Leave it where it is, we’ve seen several people badly burned,” Aubrey said. Hot oil can melt skin and clothes.
3. A fire extinguisher should only be used after the other options have been tried.
“You have to be very gentle with an extinguisher,” said Caven. The force can spray burning oil out of the pot spreading the fire. Once the fire is out or if it is out-of-control, leave the house and call the fire department. “Never leave cooking unattended,” Caven said. “Having a working smoke alarm will alert that something is wrong.”