Panic as kitchen fire licks walls

Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
Mitch King
ASH PAINT: Firefighter Mitch King says it is amazing how quickly a fire can take off – this is the result of only a few minutes of burning.

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A woman was left shaken but unharmed after a pot of oil burst into flames while she was cooking.

Eileen Smith says it took only minutes before the flames engulfed the rangehood and started licking the surrounding walls.

This is the first house fire she has experienced and it was not long before panic started to set in, she says.

"My hands started shaking but I called 111 straight away."

The house had fire alarms in place and fire chief Jeff Palmer says she did the right thing.

Deputy fire chief Mike Ross says that when an oil fire starts it is possible to snuff it out by putting a breadboard or wet tea towel over it.

"But definitely do not put water on it," Mr Ross says.

If it quickly gets out of hand, get out of the house and call 111.


When a fire starts in the kitchen how you act depends on what kind of fire it is and where it is.

Oven or microwave fire: Close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don't open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.

Cooking pan fire: Use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop flames in a pot.

Grease or oil fires: Never use water! Instead, try one of these methods: If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn burner off; smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth; or use a fire extinguisher. 

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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