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Fired up about fire safety

Using water to put out an oil fire is very dangerous because it causes the hot oil to explode.

By Sandy Hadler, contributor

ZUMBROTA — Firefighters put on quite a show at National Night Out when they demonstrated how dangerous a grease fire can be. 

Administrative Fire Chief Mike Boraas took a long pole with a cup on the end and poured water into an inch of cooking oil, which was burning in a kettle on a stove. The fire exploded, shocking kids and adults.    

Outreach coordinator and firefighter Scott Sorby lined up Tuesday’s demonstration and has been busy all summer attending farmers markets and other events to teach community members how to extinguish a fire safely. In the near future, he plans to conduct a free fire extinguisher training and an outreach event with local emergency medical technicians.

 “To prevent cooking fires, be alert. Do not cook when you are tired or taking medication," Sorby said, adding, "Set a timer so you remember when to take food out of the oven, don’t be doing laundry or something else while you are cooking, stay in the kitchen so that you can watch what is going on, keep the stove clear of plastic spoons, mail and other flammable items, and don’t store food in the oven, as it is easy to forget that it is there."

He also showed the crowd a new powder product, similar to baking soda, that is effective at putting out a small fire.

Firefighters Josh Finstuen and Mathew Decker helped with the event.

The demonstration kitchen is owned by the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association and is rented to various groups so they can promote kitchen safety.

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