Cooking fire damages barracks kitchen

Sheri Byrd
Contract writer

***image1***The quick response of Vogelweh Station 5 firefighters helped extinguish an unattended cooking fire in a Rhine Ordnance Barracks barracks

April 4
“The occupant heated grease to cook food. He left the room and returned to find the pan of grease on fire,” said Tech. Sgt. Wayne Blake, fire inspector with KMC Fire Emergency Services. “He attempted to extinguish the fire, but the nearest fire extinguisher was empty.”
After the electrical alarm also failed to sound, the occupant ran to notify the gate guard to call firefighters and returned to his building to find another extinguisher. When fire and rescue units arrived, he was attempting to extinguish the fire which had spread through the kitchen into the cabinets and ceiling above the stove.
Investigators estimate the damage at $5,000 to $7,000.
“Unattended cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of fires in the KMC,” said Sergeant Blake. “The average is at least one unattended cooking fire per month.”
KMC Fire Emergency Services offer the following cooking-fire prevention tips:
• Don’t leave the room or turn away from your cooking equipment.
• Don’t cook when drowsy or under influence of alcohol or medication. Have a cold snack instead.
• Keep pot holders, dish towels and food packaging away from the stovetop.
• Roll up long sleeves or wear short or close-fitting sleeves.
• Keep pot handles turned inward to avoid spills.
• Keep children and pets away from the cooking areas.
Sergeant Blake emphasized that all facility managers are responsible for the monthly inspection and documentation of fire extinguishers.
“We have far too many people leaving cooking unattended,” said Brig. Gen. Rosanne Bailey, 435th Air Base Wing commander. “This should be a sobering reminder to everyone of what a significant danger unattended cooking can be, even for just a few moments. Our super KMC firefighters contained the damage, but this never would have happened with proper oversight.”