Many people don’t know that fires in the kitchen are one of the most common forms of household blazes. In most cases, these hazards are caused by cooking, especially with your oven because it generates heat with electricity or gas. While ovens are an essential part of our daily lives to prepare small and large meals, leaving them on for an extended period and other technical issues would lead to serious fires.
Can leaving the oven on cause a fire?
Have you ever cooked something and then forgot to turn it off after finishing? If no, then you are lucky because a moment of inattention would lead to some serious situations. It is estimated that unattended cooking makes up for around 30 per cent of residential fires.
When you leave your beef joint, lamb, or chicken inside the oven, the excess heat generated from electricity or gas would burn the foods when they get fully cooked. As a result, fires might show up in the unit and burn other electrical parts if left untreated, which can be extremely dangerous.
Thus, always keep an eye on your foods when you are cooking with an oven or set the timer to remind you of when to remove the foods.
Of course, it could be easy to be distracted by phone calls, kids, or everything else which goes on in your house. The only solution is to always double check and to make sure you have finished cooking with your oven.
Other common causes of fires in your oven
In addition to leaving the oven on, there are many other mistakes that could result in a flaming oven. These include:
1. Place greasy foods
Something you might not think fat like cooking oils can come close to the heating source and cause a flame. Also, grease from chicken or meat during the cooking process might splatter and cause fires when the heat goes excessively. Thus, make sure to keep generously oiled ingredients on the lower rack of the oven when you are broiling.
2. Use wax paper rather than parchment paper
There is a huge difference between wax papers and parchment papers when cooking with your oven. The formers don’t resist heat as the latter do, so they will be likely to melt when exposed to extended heat and cause a fire in your oven. Thus, make sure to use oven-safe parchment papers, which might darken slightly, but will never catch fires.
3. Debris in the oven
There are many reasons to keep your oven always clean, and one of these is to avoid hazardous flames. Basically, leftover bits might catch fire easily, or at least smoke and burn at the base of the oven. Large pieces of dry foods when you toast a baguette might even catch fire within a few minutes. Thus, always put loose food on a baking sheet and carefully check for dropped foods in your oven before and after cooking.
4. Forget to use baking sheets
One of the most common mistakes that might cause fires in your oven is to forget to put a baking sheet under the base to avoid dripping. Pizzas, cobblers, and pies should be cooked directly on baking sheets or with baking sheets on the rack under to collect excess liquids which might burn due to excess heat.
5. Set wrong settings
Keep in mind to read the recipes carefully and know exactly how to set your oven correctly before cooking anything. Some simple mistakes such as setting to broil rather than bake or choosing the self-cleaning mode would easily lead to a fire.
What should you do after noticing the flames?
If you notice a flame in your oven, the most important thing to do is switching off the device and waiting for it to cool down. Do not open the door because it might add more oxygen and allow the flame to spread. Once the problem is in check, open all of the windows, then open your oven’s door so that all smoke can go out.
Avoiding to extinguish the fire on your own unless you are trained to perform the task correctly and have the correct fire extinguisher at your home. If the fire doesn’t go out and grow quickly, exit your house immediately and request assistance from emergency services.
The following clip might give you some useful tips to put out a fire in your oven:
How to prevent oven fires
Here are a few simple tips to prevent your oven from fires:
- Avoid leaving cooking foods unattended
- Always clean your oven before and after using
- When making pastries and cakes, place a slightly bigger tray under the cupcake tin or baking pan
- Cover foods which would splatter. When roasting a chicken or duck, you should remove it every 30 minutes from the oven and drain hot grease carefully
- Have your oven checked out regularly by a professional to ensure it is still working properly