December 18, 2011

Christmas…A Time When Safety is Overlooked




A previous post (Christmas…Time for Food, Fun, Gifts, and…Fires) provided a warning from Fran to every family at the beginning of the cold winter weather and the start of the heating season.

It was also a warning to all who decorate their homes for the holidays


Today’s post shares two more of her family’s experiences—events that occurred on the same day her nephew’s house burned to ashes. Please be cautious this Christmas season. Make it the safest possible time.


     On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, my nephew’s house burned to the ground when the furnace exploded.

     Please take time to clean or replace the furnace filter, and to vacuum out the furnace and make certain it’s in good condition for the upcoming cold weather. If not, and a fire results, you might not be so lucky as my nephew was. Because two of his children awoke in the wee hours of the morning he was alert and able to see that his family escaped.


     Tuesday was a day my family should have just slept in.

     Twelve hours after my nephew’s fire (in Missouri) our family received another holiday lesson in safety.

     My granddaughter, who lives in Puerto Rico, was boiling oil to fry something. Suddenly, the oil began to smoke. A small fire began on the surface of the pan, so she grabbed it, intending to get it to the sink.

     Unfortunately, her husband had just entered the kitchen and was behind her. Not knowing he was there, the pan bumped into his back, causing the hot oil to spill onto his back. It also flooded over her hand and arm, ran down her legs and feet, and splashed onto her face.

     The couple is in a burn unit. She received second degree burns on her face, right arm (from her elbow to her hand), both her lower legs, and her feet. Her husband has third degree burns on his back, one leg, and an arm.

     Both are in a hospital burn unit receiving good care. The husband is in critical condition. She will need therapy on her hand.

     We acknowledge that it was an accident and pray for their recovery.


     People should be aware that these types of accidents occur more often than we know, and ask that people to think more during this time of the year.

     When entering a kitchen—anytime, but especially during the holidays when minds are on a thousand things—let the person at the stove know you are there.

     Little children often run around kitchen islands and in and out of rooms. Take the time to know where lit candles are placed, what is on the stove, and whether the pan handles are turned where they might be easily bumped.

     Always remember—when standing near a fire of any kind—a simple bump during some horseplay can cause someone burns that will take a lifetime to recover from.



Christmas…Time for Food, Fun, Gifts, and…Fires


  1. Update on Sam and Jordan – Jordan received his skin graft so is now up and moving around, wrapped tightly but since burn was to his back will be discharged for Christmas – Sam remains hospitalized, so far unable to walk, but we’re hoping for this week!

    Comment by fran welts — December 21, 2011 @ 9:08 am | Reply


    “Cooking fires” have become so common that Greensburg fire Chief J. Edward Hutchinson plans to distribute a pamphlet about how to prevent them. Apartment building tenants will be targeted first, because they have been involved in many of the calls.

    “They put grease or oil in a skillet or pan or pot and leave,” Hutchinson said. “It gets to a certain degree, and it bursts into flames. They try to either put it out or throw it out, and problems occur.”

    Fire chiefs attribute the uptick in cooking fires to lifestyle factors, including shift workers preparing meals when they’re tired, people deciding to cook a snack after a night out, and more homecooking instead of dining out in the economic recession.

    The number of kitchen fires has increased over the last few years, statistics show…

    Often, the cooks will heat the grease or oil on a stove burner set to its highest setting, then dump in frozen food. That’s a recipe for disaster…

    Read the entire article at

    Comment by carolyncholland — February 7, 2012 @ 12:21 pm | Reply


    Here are tips to avoid and extinguish grease fires:

    — Don’t use grease or oil in a skillet or pan and leave it unattended. Keep a lid handy to cover skillet or pan, and turn off the heat source.

    — Place a metal lid over flame. Don’t use glass because heat can cause it to break.

    — Smother the fire with a liberal amount of baking soda if the fire is relatively small and contained.

    — Do not douse a grease fire with water. Water will not put out a grease fire.

    — Do not carry the flaming pan to the sink or outside. The pan will be too hot to move, and the grease could spill.

    Source: Greensburg fire officials and


    Comment by carolyncholland — February 7, 2012 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

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