Durham Fire Department notes increase in kitchen fires during COVID-19 pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — The aftermath of a fire can be shocking.

“It’s more than just you burn up your favorite pan and have to throw it in the trash. And it can happen really, really quickly,” said Elaine Towner, Durham Fire Department life safety educator.

That’s why every October, the Durham Fire Department tries educate residents about fire safety before it’s too late.

This year is all about safety in the kitchen. Durham firefighters said they have seen an increase in kitchen fires during the pandemic.

“There are a lot of distractions going on in people’s’ homes because that’s where they are all the time and it’s really easy to lose track of what’s going on in your kitchen,” Towner said.

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Towner says the number one way to prevent a kitchen fire-don’t leave your stove unattended if you’re cooking and don’t leave anything on the counter that could catch on fire. If you’re cooking with grease, keep a pot lid nearby.

“If it flares up, put the lid on it and turn the stove off,” Towner said.

During fire prevention month, firefighters usually spend a lot of time talking to school groups to spread their safety messages, but the pandemic put those presentations on pause. For now, they’ve gone virtual by creating educational videos on their Durham Fire and Life Safety Facebook page.

Towner said firefighters are still answering calls for help.

“It does take a little bit longer to get all that PPE on and get into the home but they’re still coming. We’re still running calls,” Towner said.

If you would like to share those educational videos with your family, click here.

SEE MORE: Fire escape planning with your family

Durham Fire Department said teachers can request virtual fire prevention classes and virtual field trips for their students. For more information, visit the Durham Fire Department website and submit a community service request.

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