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Fire safety alert

Nearly half of house fires start in the kitchen


Last updated 10/6/2020 at 8:28am

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

In Washington State, the SFMO has received reports of more than 650 kitchen cooking fires each year over the last five years. Cooking fires can grow quickly and cause damage and injuries that can be prevented.

The SFMO wants to share the following safety tips to prevent cooking fires:

• Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.

• Keep your cooking area clutter-free! Move anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from the cooking area, including oven mitts, towels, wooden utensils, and food packaging.

• Always keep a pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in your area, contact your local fire department. For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking fire prevention, visit

For more about fire safety, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929.


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