Woman burning oven

If you’ve ever tried to roast a duck or cook something with a lot of grease in your oven, then you may have experienced a flame-up. These can be scary but are easily put out with these easy steps.

Stay calm and keep safe

Most fires in the home happen in the kitchen, so it is good to be prepared in case of emergency. Oven fires are frightening, but are usually easily contained and can often be easily prevented.

Why it happens

Your oven can catch fire for a few reasons:

  • If you are cooking something with a lot of fat and grease, it can splatter and cause a flame.
  • If you are baking, the batter could overflow, drip to the bottom and start a small fire.
  • Sometimes food scraps or other items might be left in your oven, and they could catch fire.
  • Forgetting something in the oven can also lead to burned food, lots of smoke and in some instances, a fire.
  • Some people have even reported their ovens catching fire when they had the self-cleaning feature on.

Read about keeping kids safe in the kitchen >>

What to do

  1. Leave the oven door closed!
  2. Turn off the oven and allow the fire to burn out on its own.
  3. If it does not go out on its own, leave the house and call 911.
  4. If it does go out, then open your windows.
  5. Carefully open the oven door (it will be smoky!) and remove the hot pan.
  6. Allow the smoke to clear before determining the cause of the fire and possibly resuming cooking.

Although Step 1 may seem counter-intuitive, opening the door will only cause the fire to expand. By keeping the door closed and turning off the heat, you are starving the fire, since it can’t burn without oxygen. Only when you are sure the fire is out should you open the oven door and proceed.

Read more on how to prevent kitchen fires >>

How to prevent it

  • Do not leave cooking food unattended.
  • Make sure your oven is clean before use.
  • When making cakes and pastries, put a slightly larger baking tray underneath your baking pan or cupcake tin.
  • Put a cover on food that might splatter. If you are roasting a duck and want a crispy skin, remove it from the oven every half-hour or so and carefully drain some of the hot grease.
  • Get your oven checked out by a professional to make sure it is working properly.

More on home safety

How and why to replace an electrical outlet
Be prepared for an earthquake
Top 5 hidden home hazards

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Comments

Comments on "What to do if your oven catches fire"

Amanda December 02, 2013 | 11:43 AM

After this thanksgiving, my dad was going to make a frozen pizza and (this is my brand new house) I heard an "(OMG) - what do I do!" Here to find out, a small fire started in the oven. My dad obviously did open the door, and my mom threw in fist fulls of salt. I do not have a fire extinguisher yet...But I do think that I will be investing in one this week!

emma November 28, 2013 | 9:15 AM

WOW ITS THANKSGIVING AND MY OVEN JUST CAUGHT ON FIRE AND WE USED SALT AND A WET TOWL AND WE THROUGH THE TOWL AUSIDE ON THE BACK PORCH HOW IT HAPPENED WAS I WAS SITTING NEXT T MY AUNT WHILE SHE WAS DOING MY NAILS AND ALOT OF SMOKE STARTED TO COME OUT OF MY OVEN AND WE WRE FREAKING OUT AND SO I CALLED MY MIMI AND SHE SAID TO USE SALT OR CORN STARCH.

DD November 12, 2013 | 12:05 PM

My apple pie just boiled over in the oven - ughhh... Took the pie out, closed the oven door - smokey house . opened the windows and let the spill burn off. no flames, just a lot of smoke and bad smells. Lesson learned: put a pan underneath the pie - lined with foil - to catch any runoff.

Neil October 29, 2013 | 3:01 PM

I can offer this advice regarding preventing oven fires: Get your oven professionally cleaned at least once per year. Carbonised grease is the problem. It’s the type of grease that has become stone hard over time. You know the type, it seems near impossible to remove. Carbonised grease building up inside of oven can present a serious fire hazard. Having your Oven Cleaned by a Professional every 6 - 12 months by an expert who can remove all the hard carbonised grease can eliminate this fire risk.

Jayde June 01, 2013 | 4:06 AM

When our oven caught fire, we had a kitchen fire extinguisher near-by. We turned off the oven first, kept the door shut, grabbed the fire extinguisher and then quickly opened the door and extinguished it. It's worth having an extinguisher near-by the kitchen and learning how to use it.

NowIKnow! February 06, 2013 | 12:40 PM

Thanks! I just had some bacon catch fire. It looks like it's out, now, but I'm going to wait to open the oven door.

Susan May 10, 2012 | 12:40 PM

Wow, I never knew that leaving the oven door closed and letting the fire burn itself out is the proper way to deal with an oven fire. I have been doing it wrong all these years. Whenever something in my oven catches fire, I instinctively open the oven door and open all the nearby windows so that the smoke can escape. Now that I have read this article I will know what to do when my next oven conflagration occurs.

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