Kitchen Safety: What Not To Do When Your Stove Catches Fire

What to do when your stove catches fire

kitchen safety stove fire

A little while ago I had a bit of a kitchen mishap. This time, it wasn’t to do as much with a culinary disaster like the previous post, but a slightly more serious affair.

As I was cooking dinner in a daydreaming trance in the kitchen, my hubby brought my attention to the smoke that was streaming up from the burner I was using to massacre some food. I flipped on the fan, as per his suggestion, and while investigating what was smoking (likely a stray piece of macaroni that had landed under the burner during my wild display that somewhat resembles meal preparation) *BAM*.

Fire erupted from underneath the element.

Ahhh!!! What does one do when a fire breaks out on your stove top? Take action to extinguish said flames? No, no. Clearly what is necessary is to scream and flap your arms while exclaiming “What do I do! What do I do!” (Note: this isn’t actually what you should do.)

I had the thought of dousing the fire with a pile of flour while I flailed, but luckily, Hubs ran to the rescue and poured a good splash of water from a pot onto the flames, putting out the fire and creating an exquisite soup a la stovetop.

Although this may have worked for the time being, we worried about the flood that had now claimed our stove top and if it would be a hazard with the electrical stove, and wondered what we really should have done to return our surprise fire-cooking burner back to the electrical element we are used to.

So, what does one do when you want to know anything nowadays? You ask Google.

This is what our scholarly search turned up about dealing with a kitchen fire. You can find this information here, directly from eHow.


Kitchen Safety Tips

When flames surprise your culinary adventures, what you should do is the following: 

Either cover the fire with a metal pot lid (if the fire is in a pan, this should work well, but I’m a burner where there is other access to air it might not work), pour baking soda on the flames (you will need a lot, so if not readily accessible you’re probably better off not wasting your time finding it), or use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. If you have an extinguisher and use that, remember it will contaminate your food and kitchen and should be properly cleaned up.


What you should not do is:

DO NOT pour flour on a fire. Flour is a great explosive, apparently, and is a great way to turn bad to worse with a *BOOM*.

DO NOT pour water on a (grease) fire. If the fire is burning on grease, the water will cause it to splash, spreading the grease and the fire.


The majority of kitchen fire calamities happen because the stove was left unattended. Stay focussed and stay by the stove, friends. And keeping a canister of baking soda next to the stove might not be a bad idea, either.

3 thoughts on “Kitchen Safety: What Not To Do When Your Stove Catches Fire

  1. Sandy,

    Yikes! Glad all turned out to be okay for you, despite the scary situation! Because I tend to be prone to boil-overs and other mishaps, I keep a big pot lid or metal pan nearby at all times in case I need to smother some flames. I also keep an extinguisher under the sink. The baking soda is a good idea too. I did know that you never pour water on a fire in the kitchen in case it’s a grease fire. Good tip though – many don’t know that!

  2. Kay Stevens

    Were you able to use the stove? My (ailing) father started a pot of water on the stove, went to his room to lie down for the few minutes he thought it would take to boil and fell asleep. Awoke to the sound of the smoke alarm — house full of smoke, flames melting the handles of the pot and the knobs on the stove and shooting up the wall behind the stove. Panicking, he forgot about the fire extinguisher in the cabinet, filled a pot with water (a few times) and (thankfully) doused the flames.

    The knobs for both burners on the right side and one on the left are completely melted off. Although he still has one burner knob & the oven knob, we’ve been afraid to even plug it back in (much less turn it on), seeing how water & electricity doesn’t usually mix well. Anyway, it’s been 2 1/2 months & we haven’t been able to replace it (financially challenged). As the story goes, when it rains it pours. Our furnace isn’t working, it has been cold in our house for a couple of weeks and the temperature outside just keeps dropping (supposed to be below freezing next week). Although kind of terrified, I’m tempted to plug it in & try to use the oven for a little bit of heat. Do you think it is safe to do so?


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