Firefighters are routinely called out to check alarms from cooking which vary in their intensity. Sometimes all that is needed to do is clear the area of the heavy smoke produced by burnt food. When the fire leaves the pan, however, things get progressively worse.
Anything stored on the stove top will burn quickly depending on the material they are made of. No items should ever be stored on top of the stove or in the oven. Cabinets above or next to the stove will begin to burn as the flames grow. At this point, the fire is most likely to engulf the kitchen and move to the next room of the home. It could take as little as two minutes for the kitchen to become involved in fire. This is why, no matter what the task, you should turn off the burners before leaving the kitchen.
During a recent fire call for food on the stove, the resident echoed a familiar statement, "I was only gone for a minute." In this case, the resident went into another room to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, a common task that could take much longer than it would for a fire caused by cooking to become large before you would discover it.
Another problem comes when people who are tired or impaired by drugs or alcohol try to cook. In 1997 a woman began making a late night snack on the stove and then fell asleep in the living room waiting for the food to get done. By the time she was awoke by the resulting fire, she quickly became overcome by the smoke. The woman and her four grandchildren died in the fire.
Follow these tip for safety in the kitchen
If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food, you should turn off the burner/stove.
Never cook when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.
When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves. Loose-fitting clothing is more likely to catch fire from a stove burner.
If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food check it regularly, and stay in the home.
When young children are present use the back burners.
keep a 36" "safety zone" around the stove for children.
Spilled food and grease from burners, stove tops and oven should be cleaned up to prevent a fire.
If a small grease fire starts in a pan smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing an oven mitt). Turn off the burner.
When heating food in the microwave use only microwave-safe containers or dishes to heat food.
When Cooking with oil
Cooking with oil requires close attention.
When frying, stay by your pan. Simply turning away from the cooktop may be enough time for a fire to start and get out of control.
Make sure pans and utensils are dry, oil and water don't mix.
If the oil starts to boil (bubbling), remove it from the heat source. Just lowering the temperature of the burner will not reduce the heat quickly enough, especially on an electric stovetop.
Be careful not to over-fill your pan or pot with oil. You need enough room in the pan to allow for the food to be added. If you have too much oil in the pan, oil is likely to overflow the pan and contact the burner, where it can catch fire.
If the oil catches fire, wearing an oven mitt, immediately, but carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the fire. Turn off the burner and slide the pan off the heat source. Keep the pan covered until the oil cools to prevent it from starting again.
If the oil has overflowed from the pan and ignites, get everyone out of the home and call the fire department from outside.
Never use water to extinguish a cooking oil fire.