Susan Revis - William Raveis R.E. & Home Services


Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.

You aren’t alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, we’re going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires. 

Cooking fire statistics 

Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.

In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.

Cooking safely

One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.

A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you don’t necessarily need one for the cooking that you’re doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.

Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.

Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing aren’t near any burners or open flames.

In case of fire

If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and don’t re-enter the house under any circumstances.

For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.

Understanding cooking fires

Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.

However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.


A growing trend in interior design is to put wood flooring in the kitchen. If this seems counter-intuitive to you, you're not the only one. After all, the risk of damage from traffic, water, spills, stains, and even burns could certainly give one pause. But mainly to accommodate the free-flow open-concept designs and create a visually seamless aspect, wood floors are popping up in both new builds and pricey renovations. Plus, wood is warmer under bare feet on cold mornings, and it just looks nice. 

If you’ve wondered how a wood floor will work in your kitchen, remember the following points about wood floors.ol>

  • Not all wood is the same. Solid wood flooring might come from a hard species or a soft species. While a specific color or grain might attract you, a softer wood is subject to scratches and dents from street shoes, stools or chairs, tables, and heavy appliances such as the refrigerator. While solid wood allows for some repair and refinishing, a harder wood lasts longer and requires less care. Wood floor hardness ratings called the Janka Scale, place firs and pines in the softer category and gums and teaks at the top.
  • Standing water is not your friend. While finished hardwood flooring holds up well to cleaning with a damp mop, standing water that seeps between the planks causes the wood to swell and warp. Wipe up spills and standing water immediately. For the same reason, don’t use a steam floor cleaner. Check around sinks and under the dishwasher and refrigerator for leaks that could damage your floor.
  • Take special care when moving heavy appliances or furniture. Place heavy cardboard or a rug under the wheels or feet and slide it into place to protect the wood from deep grooves, dents, or scratches.
  • Use area rugs under tables and chairs to avoid scratching from constant use. 
  • What about bamboo? Technically, bamboo is a grass, not a hardwood. However, most flooring outlets sell it as hardwood. Compared to most, it is two to three times harder, including oak, so it is an excellent option for flooring. Bamboo floors install the same as hardwood and are more resistant to water and other liquids (although no hardwood, including bamboo, is waterproof).
  • If you’re thinking of placing hardwood in your kitchen during an upcoming renovation, ask your neighborhood real estate professional if hardwood is trending in your area.




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