A story out of Arizona this week can easily make you stop and think, "Wow, this could happen to me, too."
Fire officials responded to a house fire that started from hot cooking oil. According to the story on Tusconlocalmedia.com, the occupant of the house was heating up oil to make french fries. When he dropped the frozen fries into the hot oil, a flash fire occurred that spread to the cabinets and plastic hood area of the stove.
After he was unable to put out the fire, the man called 9-1-1 and had to quickly evacuate the home. Thankfully, fire crews on the scene put out the fire quickly and no one was injured, but the residents will now be displaced for some time as the house gets repaired.
Making french fries seems like a relatively easy thing to do and many of us have made them at one time or another. But fire officials have warned that frozen fries have a high water/moisture content, which does not mix well with hot oil. Some tips to keep in mind when frying with oil:
- Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
- Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
- Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
Before you create your next great meal, take a few minutes and review some important tips related to cooking and cooking with oil on NFPA's cooking fire safety webpage, and share them with the ones you love!