Kitchen Fire! Now What?
The leading cause of house fires is cooking; grease fires, oven fires or simply leaving a pot unattended on a stove. Most of us can recall leaving something on the stove and being distracted. If you ever find you have a fire in a pan, do not attempt to move it. Cut off the supply of air to the fire by putting a metal lid on top of it if possible, and turn off the burner. If the fire is in an oven, turn off the oven and leave it closed.
Of course, every kitchen needs a fire extinguisher. Be certain it’s the right type. Type A fire extinguishers are for fires involving combustible materials like paper, wood, cloth, rubber and most plastics. Never use a Type A extinguisher on a grease fire! An explosive reaction could result, causing the fire to spread.
Type B extinguishers are for flammable liquids like food grease, oil, solvents and gasoline.
Type C extinguishers are for fires involving electrical equipment and components.
Type ABC multi-purpose fire extinguishers are designed to put out all three types of fire. Since they are the most versatile, it’s probably the best choice for your kitchen. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, douse the fire with dry baking soda.
If you are not absolutely certain a fire is out, call 911 immediately. Waiting could have disastrous results.
Most of the time, if the fire is contained, damage to the structure is minimal. During a fire, hot gasses and smoke penetrate into surfaces, making the resulting odors challenging to remove. Often there is a greasy, sooty residue left on surfaces that also causes odors that can range from fairly mild to quite severe.
Once the area has been ventilated, complete odor removal will follow this sequence:
Step 1: Remove the odor source- Remove as much as possible, all charred material from the house.
Step 2: Clean affected surfaces such as cabinets, walls, oven interiors, upholstery, carpets and just about anything else that has the potential to hold smoke, soot or grease residue. It’s best to get professional help with this. Some residues can be removed dry, others require water-based cleaners, and still others require solvents for best results. Sometimes cleaning is all that is needed, but usually the odors have penetrated into surfaces.
Step 3: Recreate the conditions of odor penetration – The goal is to get the deodorizing agent to penetrate affected surfaces to neutralize the odors. This requires professional equipment and training. Some of the tools create a deodorizing fog that penetrates cracks, crevices and other inaccessible areas. These vapors destroy, neutralize or encapsulate the odor causing molecules in porous materials. In many cases, these three steps are all that is needed. Sometimes odors linger in certain areas like kitchen cabinets. That’s when you need step 4.
Step 4: Seal surfaces that do not respond. In those cases where all else fails, the surface can be sealed, preventing odors from escaping into the air. The type of sealer used will depend on the surface.
We hope this article will help you prevent a cooking fire in your home. But if the unthinkable happens, call Clean Pro. We can help assess the damage, clean up the mess, eliminate the odors and get your home back to normal as quickly as possible.