Thanksgiving Day Oven Fire
This wasn't what our table looked like that Thanksgiving
An Unexpected Appliance Problem
“Where’s the fire extinguisher?” I called from the kitchen.
"Why do you need the fire extinguisher?” My teenage son, Bill replied. He was sitting on the couch, watching dozens of scantily dressed baton twirlers in the parade on television.
“The oven’s on fire.”
“Really?” Bill came to look.
I sat on the floor, holding the oven door open to show the flames.
“Wow. What did you do?”
“I only turned it on and put in pumpkin pies.” I probably sounded a bit defensive. I had burned burner covers many times because I frequently turned on the wrong burner, but I'd never set fire to the oven itself before.
“You should turn off the oven," Bill suggested.
"I did that already. I wanted the fire extinguisher or baking soda just in case. Or is it baking powder?” I wasn’t sure I had either.
“It looks like it’s going out.”
“I need some water.”
“You’re not supposed to put water on an electrical fire.”
“It’s not for the fire. I’m thirsty.” I stood up and shut the oven door. “Maybe I should let it cool before I turn it on again.”
“I don’t think it’ll work anymore. The coil is broken.”
I opened the oven door. “Oh. So it is. Duct tape?” I shut it again.
“Maybe electrical tape.” Then Bill reconsidered. "But probably not."
“I can’t believe this happened on Thanksgiving of all days. How am I going to make the turkey?”
“Turkey’s too big.”
“We can have tamales,” Bill suggested.
“If your dad were here, he could barbeque the turkey.” Chuck was deer hunting in Michigan. “Hey, Bill, you know how to barbeque.”
“We’re out of propane and I’d rather have tamales.”
“We could go out to eat.” Although going out meant that I’d have to put makeup on. Or at least change my clothes. Grey sweat pants, a powder blue T-shirt with the new AT&T logo and a wool scarf didn't add up to suitable out of the house wear.
“Eating out on Thanksgiving is for losers.” Bill formed this opinion when he went deer hunting the year before with his father. He wasn’t going to risk such a horrible meal again. Of course, they had been in the middle of nowhere with the only restaurant over 20 miles away. We were in Austin, where almost everything was still open.
“But we have to have turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s traditional.” I opened the cupboard to get a clean glass but the cupboard was empty.
“They’re chicken tamales. Close enough.”
“Your sisters might not want tamales for Thanksgiving.” I opened the dishwasher but the dishes were dirty. Crap. Was it too early to open a bottle of wine and, more importantly, would it look odd if I drank straight from the bottle?
“They don’t have a choice because you can’t use the oven.”
“I can’t use the oven!” I wondered how long the oven could remain broken without my family suspecting I wasn't getting it fixed as an excuse not to cook.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR OVEN CATCHES FIRE
Okay, I know this now.
An oven fire is serious and needs to be taken care of right away because fire spreads fast. Even a slight delay of searching for your extinguisher means that your house could go up in flames. For a stove top fire, first turn off the burner to remove the energy behind the fire. Using and oven mitt or paper towel on your hand and arm, put a lid or cookie sheet on the fire to remove the oxygen supply.
Smother any grease or oil fires with a large amount of baking soda or salt. (I didn't know about the salt.I have lots of salt.)
Get everyone out of your home and call 911 if the fire cannot be put out like this right away.
Close the oven door to cut off the oxygen supply. (Um, apparently me watching the flames was not the correct thing to do.)
Turn off the oven. (Well, I did this right away).
Leave the house and call 9-1-1 if you cannot put out the fire. (Luckily mine went out by itself.)