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Fires and Kitchens!

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posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 06:38 PM
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You know, I thought it might be worthwhile to make a thread about fires in kitchens. It's something everyone who likes to cook should know about.

I think someone would have to be completely daft not to realize fires are dangerous. But fires in kitchens are REALLY dangerous! Like really, REALLY, dangerous. There's a reason for this, and this is the point of the thread.

So, what I'm going to do is post this thread with some general information, and then add to it with technical data as it evolves. Now, as an engineer, I could get into all sorts of technical stuff about fire, how it burns, what it burns and where, but I won't do that in the beginning. The first thing I'm going to do it cut right to the chase about why kitchen fires are so much more dangerous than any other fire inside a structure.

The reason is:...the fuel for the fire doesn't go away. AND, neither does the source of ignition. So, kitchen fires spread exponentially faster than any other fire.

When I was in college, I worked part-time for a wind, water and fire damage contractor (I was a finish carpenter). We were contracted by insurance companies. The majority of the claims we worked on were fire damage, and the vast majority of those were centered around kitchen fires. I was shocked how much damage they could do in just a few short minutes. Million dollar homes reduced to complete ash (we didn't restore those) in less than 30 minutes. The fire departments would call them "fully involved", and most would just keep the fires from spreading to adjacent houses, not put out the actual fire in the house. It's really that bad! And, that fast!

So why is this? Well, it has to do with what you've got going food you're cooking, and what fuel you're using. Again, I'll cut right to the chase. If you really like to cook then you will eventually migrate to some form of gas (natural gas or propane). Frankly, it's the only way to become a really good cook. However, when a fire starts on a gas stove, the source of the fuel doesn't go away...on the contrary, it becomes a blow torch. And the fire expands exponentially, and very fast.

Now many of us cooks know we have to use fire now and then to accomplish certain culinary things. Fire in a pan is not a bad thing, but when that fire spreads outside the pan onto surfaces around the cooking area it's a VERY bad thing! The trick is keeping the fire where you want it, and preventing it from going where you don't want it.

An easy suggestion would be to keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen. And, that's fine (you should always do this anyway), but there are other ways which are better 1st lines of defense. Fire needs oxygen. Starve a fire of oxygen and it will go out. Blast a fire extinguisher and you can plan on cleaning up your kitchen for weeks...if not months! So, the first thing is to remain calm, and try to take the easiest route to put a fire out.

Some people say throw flour on it. Flour works much the same way an ABC fire extinguisher does, it starves the fire for oxygen. You throw the flour on the fire, it explodes and throws up a thick dust cloud of flour and the fire can't breathe.

As we all know, oil fires are the worst. Why? Because they flame, and they drip and run all over the place setting things like lacquer covered wood floors and Formica countertop adhesives on fire. Now we've got a raging inferno in the kitchen. At this point, honestly, it's time to grab the important stuff and GET OUT!! You won't put this fire out, no matter how many fire extinguishers you have.

But here's some things to help before you ever get to that point. Always remember to have a lid for a pan you will be cooking something over high heat in. If you don't have a lid for said pot or pan, then grab a sheet pan (i.e. a cookie pan). Whether your fire is in the oven or the stove, covering it will slow it down, if not extinguish it altogether.

Remember, fire needs fuel, oxygen and a medium for an accelerator. In a kitchen fire we can only control one of those ingredients...oxygen.

Now, I'm going to go take the jerky out of the smoker, and I hope this thread was helpful.

I'm glad to answer any questions people may have!

Great cooking to you~!




posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

My friend's idiot ex-wife threw water on a grease fire. You can imagine what happened next. Me, I throw flour on it if I can't smother it with the lid of the pan.



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 08:18 PM
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I keep a Halon fire extinguisher in the kitchen. It is supposed to be good for kitchen fires. It isn't very big and it supposedly will put out a stove fire. Mine is pretty old but it says it is still good. It is a sodium gas if I remember right. Expensive little critter, but it is small. If that doesn't work, I have three or four other big fire extinguishers around the house.

The extinguisher is only about eight inches high and two inches around.



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

A lid or sheet pan works well! Flour not so much. Flour works on the same principle of an ABC fire extinguisher...the flour explodes when it hits the heat and creates a dust cloud devoid of oxygen. The problem with flour is..it explodes...and it can create a great big mess. A mess you can't recover from in short order.

Water on a grease fire is why I posted this thread. It's the worst possible thing you can do, and it's also the most common fire. Water on a grease fire makes the fire worse, not better. The water hits the grease and instantly evaporates, and the steam explodes, shooting the flaming grease all over everything around the pot.

Yet water is what everyone thinks of to stop a fire. I know many fire fighters. And, so many people see fire fighters using water to (in their minds) "put out" a fire with water. That's not actually what they're doing. What they're really doing is to try to cool the overall fire down so they can use other methods to put it out. What they want to do is get to the source of the ignition and extinguish that. it's a very interesting science!



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 08:35 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

And I'm sure you know "Halon" is now illegal, and deadly. I've installed many high end fire suppression systems, including halon systems.

If you ever discharge that halon suppression system, you have less than 15 seconds to leave the building (before you die). Halon absorbs oxygen, including the oxygen in your lungs (and even your blood stream). This is why it was outlawed.

The new "non-particulate" systems are known as FM-200 systems and they have delayed actions. We install these systems in places like data centers where halon used to be a standard, until people realized how truly dangerous it was.


edit on 10/13/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 08:44 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: rickymouse

And I'm sure you know "Halon" is now illegal, and deadly. I've installed many high end fire suppression systems, including halon systems.

If you ever discharge that halon suppression system, you have less than 15 seconds to leave the building (before you die). Halon absorbs oxygen, including the oxygen in your lungs (and even your blood stream). This is why it was outlawed.

The new "non-particulate" systems are known as FM-200 systems and they have delayed actions. We install these systems in places like data centers where halon used to be a standard, until people realized how truly dangerous it was.



According to what I read about the Halon, you just spray a little, then the cylinder needs to be disposed of properly. Once it is used, it will not seal really well anymore and should be put outside.

For a chimney fire, dumping a pound of salt down the chimney is supposed to put it out instantly, it creates a halon gas when heated like that. I often wondered what happens when you have salt on your steak on the grill. I heard that you can use salt for a grill fire too, but after you turn the gas off.



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 08:53 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Seriously, I built a data center once for a 3-letter federal agency, and they wanted absolute fire protection, and absolute redundancy. Man, the S# was crazy. This one guy was absolutely hooked on Halon. I tried to explain Code prevented us from using the stuff, but he was all over it. They opted for water in the end. They have so much money the equipment is superfluous. they don't even care about it. Billions of dollars of compute and storage...yeah, whatever!



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 11:21 PM
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Yeah i have two things to tell.

Midsummer's eve, about 10 years ago. Drunk at home. Boiling macaroni. "I will rest for a short while, then i will eat my delicious macaroni and salt" everyone can predict what was the outcome... Apartment full of smoke, fire department and a couple of police officers ran in. They ventilated the place, of course turned off the stove and such. Police said to me "Next time, ten minutes is enough for macaroni" I was like okay, i think i got this now.

Another apartment then. I moved some years ago. I chopped some potatoes and boiled them. Drunk. Resting for a while and... yes you guessed it. No fire department or police this time. It was just a devil red dry kettle with some potatoes in it. Actually, good potatoes. Like big fat potato chips.

Truly not proud about these incidents. Don't drink and drive should be a given, and i don't even have a driver's license, or a even a car. For me, the obvious should be don't drink and cook.

edit on 13-10-2019 by Finspiracy because: i included a few typos, sorry about that



posted on Oct, 13 2019 @ 11:23 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I always had a plan that in a kitchen fire on the gas stove (or in the oven), i would shut it off on the range first, and then the main gas line, in case any valves were warped and not closing. Fire extinguisher and a "fire blanket" hanging in the pantry. One in the garage, basement and master bedroom.


The one thing I never learned (and I guess I should look this up), is when I've been lazy about cleaning the grill and have it super hot and it starts a grill fire, after turning the gas off, do I close the lid to feed it less oxygen, or open it to let the heat out?

Always happens in the fall - I clean my grill completely every spring, but by fall, the buildup at the bottom of the grill is enough to cause grease fires, especially at 800°F. Every few years it happens - no big deal, but last week was the first time I tried opening the lid to wait it out. Seemed to be quicker and more effective than closing it.



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 12:15 AM
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a reply to: Finspiracy

Bahaha! OMG, you're dangerous around a stove. Maybe hire a cook next time. Lol



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 12:24 AM
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A three pound box of kosher salt is always a good start to controlling the fire in a kitchen 👍



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 12:55 AM
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f you really like to cook then you will eventually migrate to some form of gas (natural gas or propane). Frankly, it's the only way to become a really good cook.

Oh the hassle with the electric plate cooker... I disliked cooking and had no fun. Too hot, then too cold.. Since I moved in here, I can use the gas cooker and it is worlds better. It makes fun and it is so reactive to the input. No hysteresis curve. I love it


The cleaning is easier than a ceramic plate, no scrubbing, just a bit fresh oil to get the sprinkles off the stainless steel and
then wipe with water and a paper towel.

I would love to have 6 nozzles for cooking and a thick flat plate like some Asian countries have it.



Some people say throw flour on it. Flour works much the same way an ABC fire extinguisher does, it starves the fire for oxygen. You throw the flour on the fire, it explodes and throws up a thick dust cloud of flour and the fire can't breathe.

Yes, people, do NOT throw any kind of powder you find into the fire thinking you can extinguish it. I worked in a Bakery before, there is a reason why no one is supposed to smoke around the flour silos.



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 01:12 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Throw salt on it! Smother it away



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 06:15 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

citation required



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 06:21 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
I got caught in an accidental halon dump in a brand new data center. The breakaway sliding doors worked great!

BTW, lost a gas range because stupid me put bacon in the broiler. Put it out with a bigger bun pan & smothered it.
Did my own smoke remediation too, not too bad as I had commercial type exhaust, but the soot was terrible.
It's a good idea to know how and where to turn off the main propane tank & the supply line to the stove/oven/range too.

ganjoa



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 09:00 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
But here's some things to help before you ever get to that point. Always remember to have a lid for a pan you will be cooking something over high heat in. If you don't have a lid for said pot or pan, then grab a sheet pan (i.e. a cookie pan). Whether your fire is in the oven or the stove, covering it will slow it down, if not extinguish it altogether.


People as need to regularly wash their vent/extractor filters. I typically clean the four in my ventilation unit once a month in the dishwasher.



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: ignorant_ape

I stand corrected. Halon is not illegal, it was banned from import to the US for environmental reasons. If you own a Halon 1301 system you are not required to replace it with the next generation non-particulate fire suppression systems. Halon systems can be recharged, but only using recycled Halon 1301 gas. However, parts for Halon suppression systems are almost non-existent in many areas, hence they are no longer installed as fire suppression systems.



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 12:12 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

absolutly amazing - that was so " clever "

though i was most amused by the origional claim :


Halon absorbs oxygen, including the oxygen in your lungs (and even your blood stream). This is why it was outlawed.



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 12:41 PM
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a reply to: ignorant_ape

Yes, I was wrong.



posted on Oct, 14 2019 @ 07:32 PM
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That make you happy, IA? Feel all warm and fuzzy inside, now that you got me to admit I was wrong????

I'll bet you gloated on that all day, didn't you?

Well, guess what; people make mistakes sometimes. People are wrong sometimes, like I was...misinformed. I was wrong. And, I admitted it. There, I said it again. So come on, big man, why don't you tear down some more of my post here about fires in kitchens. That would be fun, as it seems this is what you like to do.

Anything else you'd like to comment about? Or, are you just going to lurk in the shadows...like the interwebz coward you are??? At least I put it out there, so where are you???
edit on 10/14/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




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