By AMY HEGGEN
---- — PLATTSBURGH — An unattended pan of oil on the stove ignited a fire in a Cliff Haven home Monday night.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day said, but not before it had spread to the kitchen cabinets.
“We do see a fair number of cooking fires,” he said.
He said people sometimes leave the room for a moment to check on something and come back to find flames in the kitchen.
The South Plattsburgh Fire Department was dispatched just after 6 p.m. to 213 Champlain Drive; Robert and Patricia Munn had evacuated their home and called 911.
The City of Plattsburgh Fire Department and the Peru Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual aid.
“The damage caused by the fire was generally minimal and confined to the kitchen with the exception of a large volume of smoke that charged the entire home prior to our arrival,” Day, who is also assistant fire chief with the South Plattsburgh organization, said in a press release.
Frying with grease or oil on the kitchen stovetop can be a dangerous activity.
On Dec. 1, 2013, another kitchen fire displaced Randy and Brie Mandigo and their 2-year-old child at an Ivy Terrace apartment in Tupper Lake. A pan of hot grease intended for french fries erupted in flames and set the room ablaze.
While the fire damage was confined to the kitchen, smoke invaded the rest of the apartment.
Caution should also be used while cooking outdoors.
Last spring, an apartment house on Ratta Road in Chazy caught fire while a tenant cooked on a front-porch grill. No one was injured, though all of the tenants had to move out for a time because the electricity had to be turned off while the building was repaired.
“A lot of cases are pretty preventable if folks watch it (the stovetop) closely,” Day emphasized.
Putting water on the grease fire is a bad idea, he added.
“It’ll make it worse,” he said. “In many cases, you’ll end up getting burned.”
Here are some tips to help avoid kitchen fires, provided by Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day:
• Don't leave the stovetop unattended.
• Avoid using water to extinguish a grease fire. It can worsen the situation or cause burns.
• Instead, pour baking soda on the flames or smother them with a pan lid.
• For an oven fire, leave the oven door closed.