PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland Fire Department is reminding residents to prevent kitchen fires for fire prevention month.
In 2012, the Portland Fire Department responded to 250 fires that were caused from cooking accidents. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires.
"We probably get 2 or 3 [calls] a shift. It could anything from someone left popcorn in their microwave too long and it sets off the alarms in their building," says Joshua Corbin, a firefighter and paramedic at the Rosemont fire station. "To a grease fire in the kitchen which it gets too out of control."
Safety tips include:
- staying in the kitchen at all times when cooking (including simmering, baking, and using the crock-pot)
- Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, and other flammables away from the stovetop
- Clean up food and grease from burners, stovetops, and grills.
The Rosemont Fire House on Stevens Avenue held an open house on Saturday that brought in a lot of kids interested in fire trucks and firefighting gear. Firefighters took that opportunity to ask the kids if they know how to call 911, if they know their address, and what should they do if there's is a fire.
Vicki Lineger brought her 3-year-old son, Henry, to the station for an introduction to fire safety. She says her apartment building in Portland has old electrical outlets and they once had a close-call.
"Somebody had started the dryer and we could smell this really awful pungent smell and didn't know where it was coming from. It was like a chemical kind of smell," says Lineger. "So when we checked the dryer in the absolute basement of the house, somebody had been using the dryer and the socket had just melted into the wall." Lineger says she called 911 right away.
"I'm really glad I called the fire department. At least now we know to look for that stuff."
Portland Dispatcher, Heather Scott, says Lineger did the right thing by calling 911. "If you're not feeling well or smell something that's not right, by all means just give us a call," says Scott. "That's our job. We're happy to come do it. We're worried about your health and safety."
Portland Fire Department Open Houses:
- 10/6/13: 9:00AM-NOON Marine Division/Fireboat, 40 Commercial Street & 1:00PM-4PM Riverton Fire Station, 1592 Forest Avenue
- 10/20/13 9:00AM-NOON Northgate Fire/EMS Station, 386 Allen Ave & 1:00PM-4PM Munjoy Hill Fire Station, 134 Congress Street
- 10/26/13 9:00AM-NOON Central Fire/EMS Station, 380 Congress Street & 1:00PM-4PM East Deering Fire Station, 474 Ocean Avenue & 1:00PM-4PM Peaks Island Public Safety, 87 Island Avenue, Peaks Island