Cooking fires are the leading cause of fires both in Las Vegas as well as the rest of the country and the leading of cause of fire related injuries. Thursday two cooking fires caused four people to be displaced. Both incidents were ruled accidental.
Firefighters were first dispatched to a fire in an apartment at 1400 N. Sandhill Rd at 5:27 a,m, On arrival firefighters found flames and smoke showing through the front door. They went into the apartment and found the fire on the stove. They put the fire out in a few minutes. Fire investigators determined the occupant was cooking with grease on the stove, sat down for a few minutes and fell asleep. When they woke they found the fire in the kitchen. The fire displaced the only occupant of the apartment and caused $5000 damage. Unattended cooking is the leading reason of most cooking fires.
At 12:04 p.m. firefighters responded to a reported fire in a vacant house at 2304 S. Sixth Street. On arrival firefighters found heavy fire and smoke showing from the rear of the house. The fire was so intense that they could not go inside the house until a major portion of the fire was brought under control from the outside. By the time firefighters entered the home to put the rest of the fire out, the fire had done its damage. It completely gutted the house and destroyed most of the family’s possessions.
Fire investigators determined that a family of three lived in the house. A teenager was home alone and was cooking lunch. They said a pan caught fire and quickly grew. At the time the teen thought the best thing to do was to take the pan and put it outside on the back patio. While going to the rear of the house, they accidentally dropped the pan and the flaming liquid quickly spread to the patio drapes and grew. The teen went to back bedroom to get a dog. Both went to a next door neighbor and waited for firefighters. It took firefighters about 15 minutes to bring the fire under control. The teen was checked by paramedics for possible smoke inhalation and released.
The house had extensive damage and most contents were destroyed. Damage was estimated at $75,000. The family of three received assistance from the American Red Cross.
The best way to extinguish a pan fire on the stove is to turn off the stove and place something over the pan, such as the pan lid, another larger pan, or cooking sheet to cut of the oxygen supply and to keep the flames from spreading. In nearly all cases where people try to move the pan while it is on fire with flaming cooking grease, they drop the pan the fire quickly spreads and they are injured. The teen was very lucky in this case not to have gotten burned..
In nearly every case cooking fires are fully preventable. Never leave food cook unattended on the stove. Have a pan lid or other flat object to place over the pan in the event of a fire. Do not throw substances such as salt, sugar, or flour on the fire and never water. Water will only intensify the fire and usually results in people getting severely burned.
If you cannot control the fire, it is best to quickly escape to a safe place outside, and call 9-1-1. Once outside never return inside.
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Incident: 4230269. 4230562