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SERVPRO and Central Fire District set kitchen ablaze to teach fire safety

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A fire erupts during a demonstration by SERVPRO.

RIGBY — Local businesses and emergency responders are reminding the public to be safe this Thanksgiving when when you cook.

This month, SERVPRO of Idaho Falls teamed up with Central Fire District in Rigby to do several demonstrations about how quickly a kitchen fire can start and spread inside of a home. The demonstrations consisted of igniting a pan of oil inside a demonstration kitchen to show what can go wrong when people cook with grease.

Central Fire District receives a number of calls every Thanksgiving from people accidentally starting grease or oil fires. In 2018, approximately 1,630 home cooking fires occurred on Thanksgiving nationwide making it a peak day for such fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“If the turkey catches on fire in the oven, immediately turn it off in order to keep it self-contained,” Assistant Chief Nick White said.

When using a turkey fryer, White suggests putting it in dry.

“Don’t take it out of your brine solution and dump it in there because that’s water,” White said.

He also believes a clean kitchen can help prevent fires.

Megan McDaniel from SERVPRO pours water on hot grease to create fire during a demonstration. | Justin Benziger, EastIdahoNews.com

“The grease on the walls is like an accelerant,” White said. “When you are done cooking, clean your walls and stove. Just take an extra few minutes, so that accelerant isn’t on the wall.”

SERVPRO built and designed the special mock kitchen set for the event. The restoration company specializes in fixing homes damaged by fire, water, or mold. SERVPRO can do the entire process from demolition to deodorization to cabinet installation.

“It is a one-stop-shop. Like it never happened is our trademark. It’s like a genie blinking type thing and you got a new kitchen,” owner Skylar Price said. “We will do everything in our power to fix it because it’s a tragedy and hopefully no one gets hurt.”

SERVPRO hopes homeowners will learn the proper precautions through their demonstrations.

“People usually want to use water, but that makes it worse,” SERVPRO spokeswoman Danielle Perry said. “We are wanting people to be more aware of what to do if a grease fire happens.”

Price also points out that setting timers and keeping an eye on the food could prevent a potential disaster.

“More than half of fires tend to be because of forgetting something,” Price said.

If a fire does happen, evacuate immediately and call 911.

Once the fire department has put out the fire and releases the scene, then a company like SERVPRO can come in to rebuild it.

SERVPRO of Idaho Falls creates a weekly segment on safety tips for homeowners. For more information on SERVPRO go to servproidahofalls.com or call 208-523-5365

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