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Posted on: October 20, 2022

Cooking remains top cause of accidental residential fires in Springfield


During 2021, the Springfield Fire Department responded to 64 residential cooking fires, with 79% of these fires occurring in single family dwellings, 15% in multi-family dwellings, and 6% in hotels and motels and other occupancies. Unattended cooking and grease fires remain the leading type of cooking fires.  

Cooking fires can be prevented by following some reminders to keep you and your family safe:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking. Never leave your pot or pan unattended. Turn off the stove if you need to leave the kitchen. A small flame can turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds! 
  • Even if you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, stay vigilant and check the food often. Use a timer to help remind you something is cooking.
  • Keep a 3-foot safety zone around the stove and cooking areas for kids.
  • When cooking, heat oil slowly and add food gently to prevent splatter.
  • If the pan or pot is on fire, do not attempt to move it to the sink or take it outside. This can cause the fire to quickly spread and increases the chances of burn injuries.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire. 
  • Fire needs oxygen and heat to survive. To remove the oxygen, smother flames by sliding a lid over the pan. Then remove the heat by turning off the burner once it is safe to do so. Do not remove the lid until the pan is cool to the touch. 
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher accessible in your kitchen and check it monthly to make sure it is not expired. 
  • If you have a small fire and use your extinguisher, exit and go to your meeting place, closing the door behind you to help contain any fire. Call 9-1-1 once safely outside.
  • If in doubt of being able to put out the fire with an extinguisher, get out of your house and stay out. Do not re-enter your home until the Fire Department lets you know it is safe to do so. 

“Practicing an escape plan at least once a year and knowing your meeting place will help prepare your family should a fire occur,” Fire Chief David Pennington said. “It is also very important to have working smoke alarms, and to test your alarms monthly.”

Smoke alarms should be installed and maintained in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement.   

The Fire Department provides free smoke alarms to Springfield residents and may be requested by calling Fire Department Headquarters at 417-874-2300 or by email at [email protected].

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For media only: For more information, call the Springfield Fire Department media line at 417-874-2301.

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