Flame Boiled Potatoes
By Jaden & Nerisa
03 October 2003
I’ll claim this one, I was cooking- :o)
Supper tonight started off much like every other night. I decided to make some mashed potatoes so I chopped some taters up, put ‘em in a pot of water and put it on the stove to boil. After a few minutes it started to steam, 100% perfectly normal.
Nerisa came into the kitchen. My back was toward the stove and she was facing it. Heard a low *poooof*. She started looking around and then calmly said, "The stove’s on fire.". "HUH!?" I turned around to look and sure enuff, smoke and flames were rolling out from under the potatoes.
I walked over and turned the burner off (freaking electric stoves…I HATE them!). Then I removed the pot and used the cover to try and smother the fire. Just set it over the burner and figured it’d burn out. I thought that a piece of food had fallen into the burner bowl and caught fire….AH, it’ll go out in a minute. It didn’t. Smoke kept pouring from under the cover, I picked it up and the burner bowl was full of fire. So I put the cover back on it and said… "ok, enough of this sht" and got the fire extinguisher. Took the cover off and discharged the extinguisher. Fire went out and reflashed…..hit it again, fire stayed out.
So, now the stove and wall is covered in dry chem. Kitchen is full of smoke and dry chem. dust. Then the smoke alarm sounds…I go "Yup, now it goes off". Nerisa and the kid sister just laffed. So, we KNOW that one really works.
The cover I used, it used to be shiny. The burner’s in there cuz it’s hot…fresh off the fire.
The white stuff is dry chem
Now the quick investigation starts. No charred food in the burner…hmm. No grease in the tinfoil that I could see…(had hamburgers last night and used the burner after cooking them)…hmm Thought that the aluminum foil that lined the bowl had made contact with electricity….nope..hmmm. WTF just happened??? Baffling.
Near as we could figure the aluminum foil just started burning. Seemed awfully strange though. Why would it just ignite? Didn’t seem right. I’ve cooked tinfoil dinners in campfires before, never caught fire before.
The fire started burning in the middle and worked it’s way out.
So, near as I could tell it was a Class D fire, meaning a metal fire.
The stove was a mess, so supper was finished on the Coleman. Then later on this evening I started investigating some more before cleaning up the mess. When I pulled the aluminum out of the bowl I found grease under it in the bowl. AH HA!!! That’s what happened. There must’ve been a hole in the aluminum that allowed some grease from last night to drip into the bowl. That’s why I overlooked it the first time. So it was actually a Class B fire (flammable liquids). Now it made sense.
Last night after I drained the burger grease, the burner was used, but on a low temperature while I stirred in the taco seasoning for about 15 minutes. Tonight it was on HI to boil water. The grease reached its flashpoint and caused a little bit of excitement.
The chunk between the 2 burners and behind the small burner is melted aluminum.
The spots are grease that the extinguisher blew out of the bowl.
Originally I thought it was all aluminum until I looked a little closer.
So folks…if you don’t have fire extinguishers, GET THEM!!!! This one saved a lot of agony. The thought of calling the Fire Dept never crossed my mind, cuz it’d prolly just be the Chief and maybe 1-2 others and me (oh…I’m already here) responding. That’s normal….anyway.
Have fire extinguishers. They’re not too expensive. This one cost me like $10 bux. Sorry, the cute model not included. :o)
$10 bux is a lot cheaper than buying a new burner and bowl and window screen. If the fire hadn’t gone out, I would have used the Gerber tool to get the flaming bowl out, kick out the window screen and throw it out into the driveway. $10 bux is a lot cheaper than fixing your kitchen after a fire gets done with it or even worse, when it gets done with your house.
This fire was completely unpredictable. Just changed the aluminum a little while ago so it was clean. Crap luck I guess.
The key to success in a situation like this is not to panic. Don’t start running around with your head cut off, this will accomplish nothing except a big pile of ashes. "Fear is not the enemy, Panic is the enemy". Nerisa just said "uhh, the stove’s on fire." I looked at it…Yup, it is. I’ve been a firefighter for 6 years now so little things like stove fires don’t bother me. Had a soaked 4x8’ piece of sheetrock fall from the ceiling and almost hit me in the head in a structure fire one morning…that’s the stuff to be fearful of, not a small fire.
Check your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms monthly….come to think of it. Gotta do an article on fire extinguisher maintenance. Ok…onto the "to do" list it goes.
Jaden & Nerisa
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