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6 Common Mistakes That Could Catch Your Oven on Fire

To prepare grilled heirloom tomatoes without using a grill, I had a close call with my oven catching fire. I placed a tray under the broiler for a few minutes, hoping to warm up the tomatoes and get some charring. But to my surprise, my tomatoes started to produce sparks inside the oven. Thankfully, I acted quickly and turned off the oven, allowed it to cool down for a moment, and then removed the tray with the olive oil-soaked, vibrant tomatoes from beneath the broiler. Oops.

This incident is a small example of how a minor mistake can have serious safety consequences. While your oven is undoubtedly a valuable cooking tool, it’s essential to remember that it can also be one of the most hazardous appliances in your home. Here are some straightforward tips to ensure your cooking endeavors are safe and your kitchen remains flame-free. We’ll also discuss what steps to take if you find yourself dealing with a kitchen fire.

1.     Placing Greasy Food Too Close to Heat. One thing that might not cross your mind (or mine) is the potential danger of having fat, such as cooking oil, that is too close to a heat source. In my experience, I made the mistake of pouring excessive olive oil on my tomatoes and placing them directly under the broiler. This resulted in the oil splattering and igniting upon contact with the broiler element. It was a recipe for disaster. Instead, when broiling is advisable, generously oiled foods, especially those with high moisture content, should be placed on lower oven racks.

2.     Using Wax Paper Instead of Parchment Paper There is a significant distinction between using wax paper and parchment paper in cooking. Unlike parchment paper, which is heat-resistant, wax paper (note the keyword: wax) is not designed to withstand high temperatures. It will melt when exposed to prolonged heat, potentially causing it to catch fire easily. It is better to reserve wax paper for intended purposes, such as wrapping cheese or creating non-stick surfaces.

3.     Ensuring Food Doesn’t Fall into the Oven. Maintaining a clean oven is crucial for various reasons. One of them is that any leftover food particles can potentially ignite, causing a fire or emitting smoke at the base of the oven. This risk increases when more prominent pieces of food, like a fallen baguette while toasting, dry out in the oven. These dried-out food items become highly flammable and can instantly catch fire. To prevent this, always place loose food items on a baking sheet and thoroughly check the oven for any dropped food before and after each use.

4.     Remember to Use a Baking Sheet. People When using the oven need to remember to place a baking sheet underneath dishes that have the potential to drip onto the bottom of the oven. Whether you’re baking pies, cobblers, or pizzas, it’s essential to either place them directly on a baking sheet or use a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any excess liquid that might spill over. If you forget and end up with a mess in your oven, clean it thoroughly before using it again.

5.     Ensure you carefully read a recipe and understand how to use the oven properly before attempting to bake anything. Avoid simple mistakes such as accidentally setting the oven to broil instead of baking or activating the self-cleaning function, as these can easily lead to a fire.

6.     Leaving your food unattended can be extremely dangerous. According to the Fire Department of New York, unattended cooking accounts for 33 percent of home fires. When you leave food unattended in the oven, it may burn, or you may need to remember how long it has been cooking. Always keep a close watch on the food you are cooking and use a timer as a reminder to remove dishes from the oven.

What to do if a fire breaks out in your oven

When a fire erupts in the oven, it is crucial to remember a few key steps to ensure safety. First, please keep the oven door closed to keep the fire from spreading. Secondly, turn off the oven to eliminate the heat source. Additionally, it is crucial to monitor the flame closely. Doing so effectively contains the fire since it requires oxygen to sustain itself. This should cause the fire to diminish within a short period. Once the fire has been extinguished, open all windows in your home to allow the smoke to dissipate. Furthermore, opening the oven door will aid in ventilation. However, if the fire continues, becomes uncontrollable, or extends beyond the confines of the oven, please evacuate your residence immediately and contact emergency services by calling 911.

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