Wow, so I feel like an idiot. Last night, I had just finished making dinner for me and the girls. Corey was at a class for school and so it was just us 3. We were in the living room getting caught up on some DVR'd shows and eating the chicken tortilla soup I had just made. I kept smelling a slight burning smell but thought that it was just the leftover scent from me frying up the tortilla strips for the soup. I glanced behind me and realized the kitchen was filled with smoke!
Of course I jumped up and ushered the girls outside immediately. I realized that flames were coming out of a sauce pan that I had used to fry up the tortillas. I had had the bigger pan of soup on low on the back burner and when I finished with the tortillas I put the soup on the counter and put the sauce pan on the back burner, not realizing I had left it ON! By the time I got into the kitchen, the flames were a few feet up in the air and my first thought was cut the oxygen. I checked the pan lids and the one that fits the pan that was on fire was glass. That would shatter, right? I wasn't sure but there was no time. So, I grabbed a bigger one and put it down over it the best I could. It was too big so it helped but not completely. I took a big metal slotted spoon and pushed the pot off of the burner and the flames slowly came down. After it was almost out I started to see that it was going to be okay. I called my neighbor and she said "baking soda". Duh. I knew that. So the baking soda was in the cabinet above the stove. Since the flames were very low now I could get to the cabinet where I kept the baking soda and used it. After throwing some over what was left of the fire it immediately went out. Whew.
Well, today the kitchen still smells like smoke and the paint around the oven on the cabinets is slightly blackened as well as the vent above it. I had inhaled some of the smoke and had a sore throat for a few hours but it went away. The girls had gone outside immediately so they didn't get much smoke. I learned a few lessons in the whole ordeal. First, we need new smoke alarms and we need to add an extra one in the kitchen. We have one in the living room and hallway. Both of which are 10-15 feet away. Both beep when you push the little button on them but neither went off! Next, don't keep your baking soda above the stove. Had I been thinking clearly, I could have used baking soda right away if it had been accessible. Third, thank goodness for my friend, my neighbor, who helped talk me through it and keep me calm afterwards. Another plus to getting to know your neighbors.
Do you have a plan for putting out a grease fire. We all have a plan for getting out of the house quickly (at least I hope you do) but if it is a small fire like we had what would you do? Our situation could have turned bad quickly. We were lucky. Walk to your kitchen and go through the motions. Do you have something you could grab quickly?
First off never use water on a grease fire! Do you have something to cut the oxygen? Keep a lid nearby when cooking. How about a fire extinguisher? Even though it will be a mess this is certainly an option. Baking soda? If not, put it in a place where you could get to it quickly without having to think about it too much because you don't know how you are going to react. If you have thought it out beforehand there is a much better chance you can find a solution quicker. Hopefully, none of you will have to go through this but if you do, having a plan could save your kitchen and your home!
I am by no means an expert so this is just MY experience. But I want you to know how to be prepared if it were to occur. There is only a very short time between being able to put out the fire and time to call 911. Don't wait to call if you are unsure. If you do choose to put it out, make sure that you can get out of the house fast if you can't get the fire under control within a very short time.
The National Fire Protection Association has a lot of great information to read through if you want more tips.