NORMAL – A recent spike in stovetop fires has Normal Fire Department urging you to make sure there is nothing on top of your stove, even when you aren’t cooking.
Three fires in the last five weeks have been caused by appliances or other combustible materials on top of the stove catching on fire. In each case, the materials on the stovetop were either ignited by a heating element being accidentally turned on or from the heat venting from the oven.
“Keep anything that can burn like small appliances, dishtowels, paper bags, or cereal boxes away from your oven and stovetop. A burner knob can be pushed accidentally, or the heat venting up from the oven can ignite materials on the stovetop,” says Fire Chief Mick Humer.
Normal Fire Department reminds you that the kitchen is the most likely place for a fire in your home and offers these additional tips to keep you safe:
• No storage on stovetops – Never store anything combustible on the top of your stove. Additionally, the drawer under the oven should never be used to store plastic containers or dishtowels. You may forget those items are there when the oven is used and the heat can cause the materials to catch fire.
• Stand by your pan - Never leave cooking unattended. It only takes a minute for a fire to get out of hand. Don’t leave things cooking on the stove top unattended and check regularly on the things cooking in the oven.
• Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves that may catch fire easily. If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop to the ground, and roll around to smother the flames.
• If a pan catches fire on the stove, turn off the burner and cover the pan with a lid. If something in the oven is burning, turn off the oven, and keep the oven closed.
• Don’t be a hero. If you have a fire and you can’t put it out department, dial 9-1-1 immediately and get your family to safety.