CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - New York fire investigators say the deadly apartment blaze that killed at least 12 people was caused by a young boy playing with his mother's stove. The young boy's mother escaped with him and a younger sibling, but many others died as the flames swept through the building.
This fire, like many others that begin in the kitchen, is preventable, fire officials say. It starts with not allowing young children to use kitchen appliances unsupervised.
"Education is the best. We always recommend that kids maintain, or families maintain, no cooking in the kitchen without attendance," said T.J. Martin with the Parma Fire Department.
Another danger is invisible, yet deadly--leaving your oven open to heat your home in the winter. That can allow the toxic gas carbon monoxide to fill your house. You may think that cracking your windows or running fans may help, but Martin says that's not true.
"Now we have generated a lot of carbon monoxide within those buildings. the cold temperatures are bad enough, but when you compound that with adding carbon monoxide to the environment within the home, now we've created a dangerous situation, because the carbon monoxide could and has the potential to kill you," he said.
Another hazard that spikes in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Martin says, is grease fires.
"It's the grease buildup within the container. once that reaches an ignition temperature, it will ignite. Grease is meant to cook things, so as long as we can keep it under that burning temperature, once it gives off enough heat and enough combustible products, it will ignite," he said.
That could cause a fireball explosion to burst throughout your kitchen, spreading to the rest of your home in a very short period of time.
Martin says that all the worst-case scenarios are preventable, and proper steps are key. However, you should also make an emergency escape plan with your family, and make sure you practice it, just in case the unthinkable does happen.
Being prepared to get out of a burning home can save your life.