How Do Grease Fires Start and How to Put Them Out

Grease fires can happen fast and get out of control even faster.

Knowing how to stop one at the first sign is essential to your homeowner’s knowledge. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to teach you everything you need to know about grease fires and the dangers they present.

Learn why these fires happen, what you can do at the moment, and how to prevent grease fires from ever starting.

Pay close attention — when a fire hits, you won’t have time to load this article!

How Do Grease Fires Start?

A grease fire starts when cooking oil becomes overheated and ignites.

Vegetable oil will ignite at roughly 450 degrees F, and animal-based fats catch fire at around 375 degrees F. Warning: these oils can reach those temperatures faster than you might expect.

These are the most common reasons a fire starts in the kitchen:

  • You raise the heat too fast, and the oil superheats.
  • You put frozen food into hot oil, and the water content smokes.
  • A grease-filled pan splashes into a heated oven, igniting a flame.
  • You’ve left the stove unattended for any period.

What to Do in the event of a Grease Fire

Even the most cautious cookers can’t always prevent a fire. There’s a reason cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home injuries.

If grease ignites, follow these rules as fast as you can (but first one warning).

Do Not Pour Water!

If you’ve heard this before, it bears repeating: DO NOT POUR WATER ON A GREASE FIRE.

Water will instantly vaporize on contact, spreading flaming grease particles around the room. In other words, it creates a deadly out-of-control fireball.

If you take away nothing else from this article: DO NOT POUR WATER ON A GREASE FIRE.

Turn off the Heat

At the first sign of flames, turn off the heat source. Do not move the pan, or you risk splashing grease around the kitchen.

Cover the Pan

Take a pot lid or cookie sheet and cover the pan to smother the flames and remove the oxygen. Without fuel, the fire cannot burn.

Apply Baking Soda

Baking soda will neutralize grease flames, but only in minor cases. Dump the entire container of baking soda over the flames for extra safety.

Use a Class B Fire Extinguisher

The proper fire extinguisher will chemically contaminate your kitchen but will quickly put out the flames. If you don’t have one already, invest in a fire extinguisher for your kitchen.

Leave and Call 911

If the fire keeps burning, run outside and call for help. Do not go back inside until the fire department has cleared out the flames.

How to Prevent a Grease Fire

Setting yourself up for a flame-free kitchen is the smartest thing you can do to avoid grease fires.

Adhere to these suggestions, and you’ll lower your odds of ever combating a grease fire.

Keep Your Workspace Clean

Always wipe down surfaces when you are cleaning up. Oil will build up over time on your cooktop, which becomes a thin flammable film.

Once your workstation has cooled off, sanitize it and remove anything left behind after cooking.

It’s best to keep food particles, napkins, towels, and other flammable materials far away from the stovetop.

Practice Using Your Extinguisher

An extinguisher is only good if you know how to use it. Take the time to teach yourself and your family the proper technique.

Also, double-check that it is rated for grease and oil. Not all extinguishers can handle the same materials.

Go Slow

Let your oils heat up slowly. Do not blast them on high heat right away.

Use this method whether you have a gas stove or induction cooktop.

Keep a Lid on Hand

Store a lid in an easy-to-reach area (i.e., not inside a drawer). That way, you can smoothly smother a fire without scrambling.

Conclusion

If a fire does end up getting out of control, IDC Fire and Water is here for all of your restoration needs. After nearly 20 years of restoring homes after fire and water damage, there’s nothing we can’t salvage.

We will make your kitchen glow and transform it to like-new conditions!

If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to pick up the phone and call 678.546.0313. But if you need to, we are standing by.

Request service now and get your free quote!

How Do Grease Fires Start and How to Put Them Out

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