Well, it happened in my home. I never thought it would. We had a grease fire.
My son decided he wanted to make tortilla chips from scratch, something we’ve done in my house tons of times. I’m not sure what was so different this time. My son and one of my daughters were in the kitchen working on making the tortilla chips and when I walked in everything seemed fine. Then my daughter picked up the pan and all of a sudden the pan was on fire. She started backing up with the pan in her hand, still on fire. I was trying to get her to go throw it in the sink and I kept telling her no water, just put it in the sink. I was looking around for anything to throw on it (except water). But, by the time she got it into the sink the fire had put itself out. I am so grateful that no one was hurt, that nothing else in my home caught on fire, and that we can laugh about it now. But it was certainly nerve wracking and scary in the moment.
I decided that this was a good learning opportunity with my kids. So, I created a Grease Fire Action Plan that I wrote up, went over with all of my kids, and posted up on my fridge for a reference in the event something like this ever happens again.
Grease Fire Action Plan
When anyone is cooking with grease or oil, they are to these out and ready to use:
1. Metal lid OR cookie sheet
2. Baking soda
IF the pan catches on fire
1. DO NOT move the pan
2. Turn OFF the fire
3. Put a metal lid or cookie sheet on the pan
4. Pour a LOT of baking soda on the pan
1. Pour water on it
2. Pour flour on it
If there is a grease fire put a metal lid or cookie sheet on the pan and turn the fire off. This should suffocate the fire and put it out. But, if it doesn’t, then a lot of baking soda should be poured on the fire as this will smother the fire. A fire extinguisher meant to put out grease fires is obviously ideal, but I don’t know many people who have one on hand. From what others have told me based on their experience, and from what I’ve read, sugar, flour, or salt could also be used in an emergency situation; however, aren’t recommended as these are flammable, but if they are dumped on in very large quantities, it could smother the fire and put it out. Sugar will melt and caramelize and make a huge mess, but if this is the only thing available I’d much rather have a caramelized mess to clean up and throw out the pan than have my home go up in flames or have any of my kids get hurt. Flour, in small quantities is flammable and could result in a small explosion; however, a large container dumped onto a small fire can smother the fire and just create a sticky mess.
If a grease fire spreads or becomes uncontained in a pan, there are severe ramifications that can occur.
1. The person, or persons, around the fire can be burned mildly or severely if they catch on fire – this can be a minor fringe of hair burned up to 3rd degree burns that could cause the person to be put in the hospital, and potentially die from the injuries.
2. Other things, such as curtains, fridge, vent, paper, cabinets, etc. could catch on fire. This fire could become contained with only a few items being burned; however, if the fire spreads, the entire house could catch on fire, which could cause the death of anyone in the home who isn’t able to get out in time.
We were very lucky in our situation and I’m glad that I could create a learning experience for my kids out of all of this. I recommend that all parents teach their kids about how to handle a grease fire and have a plan in place just in case this ever happens in your home, heaven forbid.