Oven fires are more common than most of us would like to think. Still, if an oven experiences a fire, can you continue using it afterwards? Or, do you need to spend money on a new appliance?
Yes, it’s safe to use an oven after a fire. However, you must take safety and cleanliness precautions before you do so. Firstly, call your local fire department if you have an oven fire that won’t go out. Then, ventilate the space and let the oven cool down. An oven is only safe to clean when it’s cool. Lastly, inspect its parts and repair them if necessary.
This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of making your oven safe to use after a fire.
How To Use An Oven Safely After Fire?
Some oven fires are more intense than others, so they don’t all cause the same damage.
For example, some oven fires result from grease being ignited inside the appliance or overcooked food that started burning. However, a severe malfunction in parts like the heating element or gas burner could cause more severe fires.
Despite the above, you don’t necessarily have to replace your oven. Your oven could still be functional despite a fire.
Still, you must first take a few critical steps before you can cook your next meal in that appliance.
Let’s take a closer look at those steps.
#1 Call The Local Fire Department For Inspection And Advice
Why this matters: Firstly, contacting your local fire department is critical, especially if you can’t control your oven fire. The sooner you contact them, the quicker they can put out the fire before it gets worse.
You should still contact the fire department even if you manage to put the fire out yourself. Firstly, they’ll likely want to inspect your oven and your home for any further risk of fire. Doing so is crucial to keep you and your neighbors safe.
Besides that, they can also advise you on what to do next, especially for cleaning any fire extinguisher residue (if you used one).
How to do it: Whenever there’s a fire, you should call the 9-1-1 immediately. Some fire departments might have a non-emergency phone number you can call for advice on what to do after an oven fire.
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#2 Ventilate Your Kitchen And Surrounding Rooms
Why this matters: Next, you must ventilate your kitchen and the spaces around it.
Breathing in too much smoke from your oven fire will cause you and your family health problems. So, you must increase how much air goes out of your kitchen so it can allow more smoke to escape your home.
Besides preventing health problems, maximizing your indoor ventilation also prevents smoke from getting stuck in fabrics like those on your curtains and furniture. The smell on those items will be much easier to get rid of as a result.
Lastly, let’s suppose you used a fire extinguisher to put out that fire. In that case, you’ll have plenty of fire extinguisher powder and chemicals inside your oven and all over your kitchen.
Maximizing the ventilation in that space will remove most of that powder before it settles on your kitchen surfaces, making it easier to clean.
How to do it: Firstly, open all the windows and doors you have that lead to the outside. That will allow some air to escape, carrying any smoke and powder out of your home.
Secondly, turn on any ventilation fans or kitchen hoods that you have. If you live in a small apartment, it would also help to open your bathroom door if there’s a ventilation fan in there leading to the outside.
Thirdly, turn on any standing fans that you have and point them outward. That, combined with any ventilation fans or hoods that you’ve turned on, will force smoke and powder out of your home more efficiently.
#3 Make Sure Fire Is Completely Out And The Oven Is Cool
Why this matters: While ventilating your kitchen, you must also ensure that the oven fire is completely out. In some cases, some oven fires could reignite even after you’ve put them out the first time.
Ensuring that the fire stays out is also crucial so your oven can begin to cool down. Doing so will reduce any risk of burns or other injuries to you, your family members, and any pets that might touch the oven.
As you can imagine, this step must be done correctly so that you can safely begin the cleanup process and any necessary repairs, which we’ll explore in Step #4 and Step #5.
How to do it: You can expect your oven to take at least 1 hour or more to cool down completely. This stage of the process is crucial to prevent burns and other injuries, so it’s best not to rush it.
You should only proceed to the next steps once the oven is completely cool.
#4 Clean Fire Extinguisher And Other Burn Residue
Why this matters: Once the oven is safe to touch, you can then begin the process of cleaning residue from inside the appliance.
There are two reasons why this matters.
Firstly, cleaning the residue will allow you to continue using the oven safely and efficiently to cook your meals.
Besides that, it’s also a matter of restoring food safety. Cleaning your oven will prevent any fire extinguisher chemicals from ending up in your food, making it unsafe to eat.
How to do it: You can clean residue from your oven using household cleaning products you already own.
For example, you can use:
- Vacuum cleaner: A vacuum cleaner is incredibly useful to remove any loose residue inside your oven. Clearing loose residue this way will make it easier to focus on more stubborn residues after.
- Kitchen towels: Kitchen towels are excellent for wiping away residue, as well as applying any oven cleaning products you might have.
- Oven cleaning sprays: If you have any oven cleaning products at home, now is the perfect time to use them. Apply them to the residue in your oven and wipe them away with the kitchen towels.
- A scraping device: Some fire extinguishers and burn residues are more stubborn than others. You can remove those using a scraping device like a multipurpose razor scraper. Alternatively, you can use a plastic scraper or a plastic razor if you’re scared of scratching your oven’s internal panels.
#5 Inspect And Repair Oven Components
Why this matters: The final step before you can use your oven safely again is to inspect and test the appliance thoroughly.
Firstly, you’ll want to ensure that all the oven’s features are working correctly. Secondly, you must also ensure that there are no faults which could lead to another oven fire.
You might have to replace any faulty parts to get your oven working correctly again.
How to do it: You can test your oven features yourself, one at a time. However, it would also be an excellent idea to contact a qualified technician to inspect the oven thoroughly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few more frequently asked questions (FAQs) to consider about using an oven safely after a fire:
Can An Oven Cause A House Fire?
Yes, an oven can cause a house fire. An oven fire can quickly spread to surrounding parts and burn materials like curtains and other fabrics, quickly spreading throughout the house. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) states that 61% of home fires were caused by appliances like ranges and cooktops.
Can I Use My Oven After A Fire?
Yes, you can use an oven after a fire. However, you must first clean the oven and ensure that all its components and features are safe to use. It’s best to get a qualified technician to inspect the oven and perform necessary repairs.
What Do You Do If Your Oven Catches On Fire?
Firstly, keep the oven door closed and shut the oven off entirely at its source (i.e. gas supply or electric power). Let the fire go out by itself inside the oven. If it doesn’t go out by itself, call the fire department immediately. In the meantime, use a fire extinguisher if you have one.
What Is The Most Common Cause Of Oven Fires?
The most common causes of oven fires are food and grease spills. When left uncleaned, those spills can ignite and lead to an oven fire. You can prevent this by cleaning your oven regularly.
How Do You Get Fire Smells Out Of Oven?
Firstly, you must allow the oven to ventilate. Continuous airflow will help to carry most of the smell away. Then, remove any oven racks or accessories inside and wash them thoroughly. Lastly, clean the oven’s inside with an oven cleaning product or wipe it down with diluted vinegar.