How I Caused A Kitchen Fire

Yesterday the weather turned colder so I got out my bread machine and set up a loaf for dinner. I placed it on my flat topped stove because I don't have a very large kitchen and the counterspace was full. This was a big mistake.

Somehow, the back burner got switched on, right underneath the bread machine. The machine was high enough that I couldn't see that the knob was turned and I didn't notice the little light. An hour and a half later, I noticed acrid smoke coming from the kitchen. I went out there and must have stirred up the air because the whole thing went up in flames right as I walked in the kitchen. I was able to unplug it, grab the fire extinguisher and put it out quickly but if I had not been right there . . .

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My kitchen is a mess, there is some residual burned plastic still stuck to the back burner and the bread maker is toast! But my kitchen is not burned up, or the rest of my house or my kids, so I feel pretty lucky indeed.

Here are my tips for preventing this from happening again:

  • Don't Use Your Stove As Counterspace: I have melted plastic cutting boards and rubber spatulas before. I should have known better. But that flat expanse is just so tempting. Anything that goes on the stove should be non flammable and placed there only temporarily.
  • Don't Leave Your House With An Appliance On:
  • This counts for your oven and clothes dryer as well as slow cookers, coffee pots and, of course, bread machines. I had actually just gotten back to the house about 20 minutes before it caught on fire. If I had not been there, the kitchen and probably the entire house would have been in flames when I got back.

  • Check Your Smoke Alarm: We have a hardwired hallway smoke alarm in our little house. For some reason, it didn't go off. We check it every New Year's but now I'm going to check it more often. I also might get another smoke alarm for closer to the kitchen, the place where fires happen most often.
  • Have Your Fire Extinguisher Handy: Do you have a working fire extinguisher? Is it in your kitchen, maybe under the sink? Mine wasn't, it was still in a box in the garage from when we bought it months ago. Luckily, I knew right where it was and was able to run out and put out the fire. But sometimes seconds matter. It is also a good idea to have two extinguishers in different locations. If it had been under the sink, the fire might have prevented me from getting to it.

  • Have A Family Fire Plan: I plan to have a fire drill tonight to talk about what we would do in a real emergency. I had trouble getting the kids to understand what was going on yesterday. If you haven't sat down recently to talk about fire safety and your emergency plan, please take some time this weekend to do it.
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Sorry I don't have photos, I thought about it after I had most of it cleaned up. I hope some of you can learn from my mistakes and stay safe.

Jess

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August 27, 20080 found this helpful

I have burner covers on my electric stove and several times I have ruined them by turning on the wrong burner.

Thanks goodness you were not injured.

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August 27, 20080 found this helpful

And, don't turn the clothes dryer on and go off either. They are notorious for starting fires. As someone who has gone through a house fire (started, we think, by a battery charger plugged in the attached garage) you really don't want to go through this if you don't have to. Be careful!

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August 27, 20080 found this helpful

You are right about never using appliances when you are away. That includes going to sleep.

I have known of several people who had dishwasher fires or floods because a washing machine hose broke. It is far better to be in the house and check on the appliance several times during its cycle.

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August 27, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for taking the time to share your story and give us all a reminder. Glad to hear everything/everyone was ok. These things can get out of hand so fast!

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August 27, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for the benefit of your hard-won wisdom. I will get a fire extinguisher and put a smoke detector check into my calendar for twice a year, and put it on the page of stuff I keep for booting up a new calendar (birthdays, blah blah, to-do items). I'm so sorry about your damage, if I was there I'd come in your door with cleaning gear.

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August 28, 20080 found this helpful

I have done the same but when I do use the stove top for a counter I remove the knobs so the stove can not be accidentally turned on. Sorry for the mess.

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August 29, 20080 found this helpful

I use a magnetic hook in the hole of a smoke detector to hold the detector inside the vent hood over my stove. If the ground beef starts to burn, I'm alerted, so I'm never surprised by anything on my stove. The toaster is to the left of the stove and it always sets off the alarm--I just pull the magnet off the hood until the smoke clears. A little bit of trouble but never a tragedy!

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August 30, 20080 found this helpful

Glad you and yours were not harmed.

My friend has the elec coil type burners and we got

back from grocery shopping and she set a box on

stove and I was out in her car bringing bags in

and noticed a smell. Apparently when she heaved the

heavy box up to stove she accidently set burner on

burning the box and some marshmallows in the box.

We stopped it from becoming a nightmare. I have

flat glass top so I try not to keep things on it.

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September 3, 20080 found this helpful

Hon I did the same thing too. I turned on the wrong knob. Had a glass casserole empty sitting on top (small place too) noticed it removed the glass casserole and put it on the sink counter (bam) exploded glass everywhere Thanks to the Lord no one got hurt but was a pits trying to find and clean up the broken glass for weeks. Now I make sure I know what burned is on and nothing is near it.

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