I remember it well, I had some friends over the house, the kids were in the play room, my wife was upstairs, and I was grilling some hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone just outside of the garage.

hamburgers and hotdogs cooking on flaming grill
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I had pulled the burgers and dogs off the grill, shut the lid to the grill, moved the grill back inside the garage and went inside to serve some food. What I didn't do was turn off the grill...

I was distracted for literally two minutes when I opened the door to the garage to find it filled with smoke as the grease trap had caught fire just below the grill. It certainly wasn't a huge fire, but it was enough for me to be like, "Oh, man, I got to get this thing out."

inexperienced home cook holding pot burning fire in panic stress
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I will admit, I did panic for a second. I wasn't ENTIRELY sure what to do, but I remembered somewhat quickly. I immediately re-shut the grill's lid and turned off the propane.

But what if this was inside the house? Like, on the stove? Would you know exactly what to do?

COOKING FIRES ARE THE NUMBER 1 CAUSE OF HOUSE FIRES IN MASSACHUSETTS...

Fireman extinguishes a fire in an old wooden house
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If you accidentally start a fire while cooking, you need to know the following...

  • Cover a pan or grease fire with a lid and turn off the heat. Baking soda also works.
  • Don't move a burning pan.
  • Don't use water or a fire extinguisher on a grease fire.
  • Stand by your pan. Don't leave food, grease or oils cooking on the stove top unattended.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent spills.
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  • Create a three-foot child-free zone around the stove. Keep pets away also.
  • Keep combustible items like pot holders, towels, and paper or plastic bags away from burners.
  • Don’t put metal in a microwave. Utensils, aluminum foil or twist-tie wraps can cause a fire.
  • Use caution with microwaved food and liquid. They can become very hot.
  • Unplug appliances like toasters and coffee makers when not in use.
  • Don’t use the oven for storage.

Information courtesy of mass.gov

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