Kitchen fires happening more often with more people staying home

Fire officials stress safety as more people cook
Posted at 11:34 AM, May 04, 2020

Coronavirus concerns have sparked an increase in fire dangers.

“We’ve probably seen over the last week perhaps as much as doubling of the number of kitchen fires,” said Robert Rielage of the Colerain Fire Department in Ohio.

Rielage says stay-at-home orders have more people making more meals at home – and that could be a recipe for disaster.

“Folks are starting something cooking and then leaving to do some other task,” he said. “Leaving that unattended is causing primarily kitchen fires.”

Other fire departments across the country are reporting similar increases in kitchen fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries and they’re becoming more prevalent during this pandemic.

“With people being at home all the time now, it’s very different from usual,” said Wendy Giannini-King of the Wilmington Fire Department in North Carolina.

Giannini-King is working to keep to her community safe during the COVID crisis – turning to social media to inform the public on how to reduce the risks.

“When it comes to having everybody at home all the time – the medicine and the matches and the cleaning products – hide them away get them out of the site and out of the reach of children or bored teenagers even,” she said.

Fire experts say the best protection is prevention, adding that it’s also important to check smoke detectors and make an escape plan.

Experts say doing these things will protect your family – and could also help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“If we don’t have to have a reason to come out of our houses and respond to your houses that’s less of a chance of contracting COVID,” Giannini-King said. “That’s less of a chance of being exposed to COVID.”