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.

RELATED: Raleigh family escapes fire tragedy thanks to 4-year-old child’s quick thinking

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.

Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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Whitmer fires back after Trump campaign says she has ‘hatred’ for the president, claims White House knew about threats and didn’t help

Gretchen Whitmer looking at the camera: Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

© Michigan Office of the Governor via AP
Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the Trump administration was aware of threats against her, and did nothing to reduce their attacks on her.
  • The FBI said it foiled a plot by six men to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the state’s government.
  • Jason Miller, a senior advisor for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign attacked Whitmer after she said Trump was responsible for not condemning white supremacists. 
  • Trump attacked Whitmer in a series of tweets on Thursday night. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer fired back after Jason Miller, a senior advisor for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, attacked her for reportedly hating Trump just hours after the FBI said it had stopped armed right-wing extremists who were plotting to kidnap her.

“If we want to talk about hatred, then Gov. Whitmer, go look in the mirror — the fact that she wakes up every day with such hatred in her heart for President Trump,” Miller said in a Fox News appearance.

Whitmer told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the administration was aware of threats made against her, and did nothing to reduce their attacks on her.

“I have raised this issue with them (Trump Admin)… I was aware of a lot of the threats being made against me and my family and I asked for their help. They didn’t do anything about it…Here we are. We are very close to a plot that was to kidnap me and to murder…” Whitmer said

Whitmer said that Miller’s attack “tells you everything you need to know about the character of the two people on this ballot that we have to choose from in a few weeks.”

“You know, the fact that after a plot to kidnap and to kill me, this is what they come out with. They start attacking me, as opposed to what good, decent people would do is to check-in and say, ‘Are you OK?’ — which is what Joe Biden did,” Whitmer told Burnett on “Out Front.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked the Democratic governor for her coronavirus response as well as her response to protests following the death of George Floyd.

He again attacked Whitmer on Twitter on Thursday.

“Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job,” he tweeted Thursday night. “She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities. The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan.

“My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced…today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the Governor of Michigan. Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist—while Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burn down Democrat run cities…” Trump added.

“I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence,” he said in yet another tweet. “Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack

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Pismo’s restaurant temporarily closed after 2 small kitchen fires

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Pismo’s Coastal Grill in northwest Fresno is temporarily closed after two kitchen fires broke out on Sunday.

Earlier in the afternoon, crews were called out to the restaurant off Nees and Blackstone Avenues for a small kitchen fire they quickly put out.

Firefighters were called again around 11:30 pm after employees saw smoke smoldering between the kitchen walls while they were closing up.

Fire crews returned to put out the smoke. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We’re trying to figure out how it got between the walls. If you see the structure of the walls and how the kitchen is designed, it’s confusing a bit to see how it could’ve actually made its way back there,” said Fire Battalion Chief Brad Dandridge.

No one was hurt.

The restaurant owner will now meet with the county health department to determine when the business can reopen.

Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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Fire departments sounding the alarm on kitchen fires during annual Fire Prevention Week

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Smokey the Bear said, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” but he never said anything about kitchen fires – the leading cause of home fires across the United States.

“It only takes a second for something to go up in a big fire,” Art Kohn, with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, told News 3.

Kohn shared pictures showing the aftermath of a kitchen fire in Virginia Beach. Most of the charred ruins appeared to be near the stove, the walls and cabinetry were damaged and burned and parts of the ceiling came down.

“You don’t want to have that,” Kohn said. “You don’t want to experience that.”

This week, from October 4 to October 10, is Fire Prevention Week, a week-long observation to promote fire prevention and safety organized by the National Fire Protection Association. This year’s theme surrounds kitchen fires.

“Most, if not all, of these fires, are preventable,” Kohn said.

From 2014 to 2018, there were 550 deaths as a result of kitchen fires, according to Kohn and statistics from the NFPA. He added this number was greater than the number of similar deaths from 1980 to 1984.

“It’s a firefighter’s worst nightmare, to have to deliver news like that to a loved one,” Kohn said.

Most of those deaths are due to smoke inhalation, Kohn said. Kitchen fires also left more than 4,800 people injured in the same time period.

“Most of the injuries, the severe injuries that occur to people who are dealing with a kitchen fire, are because they tried to put it out themselves,” Kohn said.

So what can you do to make sure you don’t become a statistic? Kohn advised to not leave a stove on with the burners running unattended.

If you have to step away, Kohn suggested, “Take a wooden a spoon with you, maybe a plastic spatula that you have in the kitchen. You have something in your hand to remind you, ‘I’ve got food cooking in the oven.'”

He also suggested having a fire extinguisher nearby. For a pot on fire, the NFPA suggests to slide the lid on and turn off the heat, but do not move it.

Kohn also warned to never use water on a grease fire, as the water will actually spread the grease and risk expanding the fire.

If the situation is dire, Kohn said you should let the professionals handle the fire.

“Get out of the house, call 911,” Kohn said. “Let us do it.”

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Kawartha Lakes, Scugog raising awareness to prevent kitchen fires

KAWARTHA LAKES/SCUGOG: The 2020 edition of Fire Prevention Week runs from Sunday, October 4th until Saturday, October 10th, and local fire departments are preparing to handle the occasion a little bit differently.

The City of Kawartha Lakes is holding scavenger hunts at 13 parks and outdoor spaces in the municipality.

“All you have to do is, visit one of our participating park locations, find the seven secret safety phrases and complete our online form. If you submit the phrases correctly, you’ll be entered into our draw. Find the clue poster, scan the phrase’s QR code and the secret phrase will appear on your phone,” a poster for the event explained.

The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”

Kawartha Lakes fire prevention inspector and public educator Alana Erwood told The Standard why they decided to run this type of event.

“We chose the scavenger hunt as a fun social distancing activity that can be completed as a family. Each scavenger hunt clue contains a phrase to be entered online, along with kitchen fire safety tips,” she stated.

Ms. Erwood said the theme of this year’s prevention week is timely because “cooking fires continue to be the leading cause of home fires in Ontario.”

For more information on participating locations, and how to enter the contest, go online to www.kawarthalakes.ca.

Meanwhile, Scugog Township is doing online activities and contests.

Residents are encouraged to go to my.scugog.ca/firesafety to get fire safety tips and enter contests, like the junior fire chief for a day contest and the colouring contest.

“Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in Canada, and we know that cooking fires can be prevented! Please join us for a week of fun and education to embrace Fire Prevention Week, virtually,” read a statement from Kristy-Lynn Pankhurst, Scugog’s Fire Prevention Officer.



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Rep. Ilhan Omar fires back after Trump’s ‘your country’ attack

Judy Chu, Ilhan Omar, Chris Coons looking at the camera: ep. Ilhan Omar speaks during a news conference outside of the U.S. Capitol on January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

© Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
ep. Ilhan Omar speaks during a news conference outside of the U.S. Capitol on January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump made disparaging comments at a rally on Tuesday night about Rep. Ilhan Omar for a being a refugee who fled Somalia when she was eight.
  • “She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How was your country doing?” Trump said. 
  • Omar who is the first Somali-American to serve in the House of Representatives fired back reminding the President that she fled civil war in the 1990s and that she helped impeach him last year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar during a rally on Tuesday night, attacking her for fleeing Somalia as a refugee when she was eight. 

“She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How was your country doing?” Trump said. 

Omar is the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women to serve in the US House Representatives. She spent her early years as a refugee who fled Somalia with her family in the early 1990s.

In response to Trump’s remarks, Omar said: “Firstly, this is my country & I am a member of the House that impeached you.”

She added: “Secondly, I fled civil war when I was 8. An 8-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one.” 

This isn’t the first Trump has directed disparaging comments at Omar. 

In 2019, Trump tweeted that “Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” to “go back” to their “corrupt” and “broken and crime infested” countries. He then also claimed that the congresswomen were “loudly […] and viciously telling the people of the United States […] how our government is to be run.”

A few days after the tweets, a crowd at a Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina, chanted “send her back!” in reference to Omar. 


“She looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans, saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country,” Trump said about Omar before the crowd broke into the chant.

Trump offered no rebuke to the chant. 

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Covid: Kitchen fires in south Wales ‘up during lockdown’

A kitchen fireImage copyright
Michael Blann/Getty

The proportion of kitchen blazes in south Wales hit a five-year high during lockdown, a fire service has said.

They led to 42% of house fires in April and May, the highest rate over those months since 2014-15, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.

During the period, firefighters tackled five such fires a week in south Wales, some “completely avoidable”.

Along with “increased demand” on crews they can have potentially “tragic consequences”, the fire service said.

And, while the fire service has not released the actual number of home and cooking fires involved, it said there was a 67% increase in blazes caused by chip pans and deep-fat fryers in April and May compared with the same period last year.

Overall, the service said 2019-20 saw a 17% increase on the previous year, which itself had hit a three-year high.

Image copyright
North Wales Fire and Rescue

Image caption

The aftermath of a kitchen fire

Head of community safety Dean Loader, said: “We attend up to five incidents in any week, some of which are completely avoidable.

“Across Wales, up to 40% of fires start in the kitchen, this places an increased demand on our firefighters and could potentially lead to tragic consequences on our communities.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service issued the following tips on fire safety in the home:

  • Never leave your cooking unattended
  • Don’t leave children alone in the kitchen when cooking. Make sure you keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach
  • Make sure saucepan handles do not stick out – so they don’t get knocked off the stove
  • Keep tea towels, cloths and clothing away from the cooker and hob, away from heat and flames
  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water
  • Hot oil can ignite easily, use a thermostat-controlled deep-fat fryer – they stop the fat getting too hot
  • Don’t fill a chip pan or other deep-fat fryer more than one-third full of oil
  • Never tackle a pan fire yourself. If a pan of oil catches fire, never use water on it
  • Avoid cooking if you have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that may make you drowsy or tired

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There’ll be shrimp ‘n’ grits on Forest Avenue! Sally’s Southern fires up its comfort food kitchen.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With onion soup au gratin, shrimp ‘n’ grits and a stunning sirloin steak, Sally’s Southern introduced its brand of comfort fare to Forest Avenue. Guests corralled in three outdoor seating areas at a kitchen test-run Tuesday night, allowing the kitchen to work out its kinks. The first official day of business will be Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.


Sally’s Southern had a practice night on Sept. 15, 2020 with comfort fare like onion soup, steak and fried chicken.

“The practice night is what we always do before opening to the public,” said Peter Botros. He is co-owner of the corner eatery with Phil Farinacci.

Some of the highlights on the menu include chicken-fried steak, a chicken ‘n’ biscuit sandwich with vinegar-based cole slaw and a beefy burger with toppings like bleu cheese and caramelized onions. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner with a Saturday and Sunday brunch. The weekends will include a create-your-own-chicken-‘n’-waffles dish.

Sally's Southern

Clams and oysters on the half shell

Farinacci explained, “You pick the type of chicken. You pick the type of waffle, You pick the type of sauce.”

On the Tuesday night practice dinner for “friends and family”, Botros quipped, “Rather than doing a soft opening, we choose to go for a chaotic stress test.”

He added, “We have all our friends and family come and push the restaurant, kitchen and service staff to learn where our weaknesses are so that we can adjust before opening day.”

Sally's Southern

The tap selections include custom designs by Flagship Brewing Co., Tompkinsville

Staff brought a form sheet for guests to fill out as a critique. Botros and Farinacci combed over the comments on Wednesday.

“We had great feedback about our food and definitely learned a lot about what we need to do in order to help make the kitchen more efficient,” said Botros. The upshot: Botros reckons that the 52-item menu (with sides) might ned to be cut down “to increase speed and timing efficiency in the kitchen.”

Sally's Southern

Onion soup au gratin

The moniker “Sally’s” hails from Farinacci’s late mother who passed away last year from cancer. Ten of her recipes were retrofitted to the menu, which is partially written in script with a font that mimics Sally’s distinct handwriting. In fact, the restaurant’s logo and namesake are presented in her actual style of signature. Also as homage to Sally are Polaroid-style images in the foyer of the restaurant.


Waffle fries

Farinacci called the start up to the restaurant an “emotional roller coaster” and complimented Botros on the variety of food, menu, design and build-out of the “shrine” to his mother.

“I still barely can walk by it without tears filling my eyes,” he said.

In a residential-looking home, Sally’s has two levels eventually open to the public with prep areas in the basement. The first floor has a bar and lounge, as well as a dining room with a kitchen at the back. There is a curved section of windows that serves as

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Despite two near kitchen fires, cookie baking night creates lasting memories | Momaha

The problem was immediately visible. In my haste to create a delicious snack the size of a human head, I failed to notice that our pizza pan was dappled with venting holes. Lots and lots of venting holes. Venting holes that caused dough to drop down onto the bottom of the oven, creating a hot minefield of miniature chocolate chip cookies, ladybug-sized cookies that were charred and crispy and full-on sizzling.

I quickly turned off the oven, shoved my arm into an oven mitt and scooped the teeny scorched cookies out onto the kitchen floor.

Problem solved. We would just have to wait for the oven to cool, and then I could wipe down the bottom before re-attempting our behemoth cookie.The kids stopped waving pillows and I sat down on the couch. Whew – that was a rush, right?

It smelled kind of good, though, like burnt cookies and berries.

The minute I turned my gaze to the kitchen, the smoke alarms started going off. Smoke was pouring from the stovetop, far more smoke than before. Whaaaat? I ran into the kitchen to see that in my haste to turn off the oven, I’d accidentally bumped the knob that turned on one of the back burners. The back burner that now had a bottle of berry-flavored Tums half-melted onto it because apparently I’d knocked them there when I’d been rushing to turn off the oven.

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Electrical fires raise concerns in Alabama State House

A fire that forced evacuation of the Alabama State House last week has drawn new attention to problems with the building that serves as home for the Alabama Legislature.

An exhaust fan in a third-floor bathroom caught fire on Friday, causing heavy smoke and forcing the evacuation of the eight-story building.

One week earlier, Alabama Senate Secretary Pat Harris said an electrical outlet caught fire in his office on the seventh floor. It was put out with a fire extinguisher.

Harris said both fires could have grown worse had they happened on a weekend or evening when the building was not occupied.

Harris said he plans to meet Wednesday with the company that manages the fire alarm system in the State House. One concern, Harris said, is that the alarm did not go off on the seventh floor on Friday. Another concern is that a fire could trigger the building’s sprinkler system and damage computers and other equipment.

Othni Lathram, director of the Legislative Services Agency, said a report on the condition of the State House and its systems, including the electrical system, is due by September 30. The report on the building’s condition is not specifically related to the fires but was part of an annual maintenance agreement with the state Finance Department.

The State House was completed in 1963 to serve as headquarters for what was then known as the State Highway Department, which is now called the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The Legislature moved into the building in the 1980s for what was expected to a temporary stay to allow renovations of the Capitol. But the Legislature never went back to the Capitol.

About 250 people work in the State House year-round, Lathram said. That includes employees of the Senate, House of Representatives, Legislative Services Agency, Executive Budget Office, and Secretary of State. The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the number of people in the building on a regular basis.

Lathram said the building is a concrete structure that was retrofitted with air conditioning and has had problems with moisture.

Alabama House Clerk Jeff Woodard said he did not know about many recent problems with the electrical system in the House offices, which are on the fifth floor, although he said a couple of outlets have burned in the past.

Woodard said mold has been an issue in the State House for some time. He said that includes mold on multiple walls and mold discovered behind wall coverings during renovations.

The House this year adopted a resolution to set up a nine-person committee to study the environmental conditions and physical plant systems of State House and make recommendations to the Legislature.

The resolution said the State House has many problems, “including air quality, plumbing leaks, electrical power surges, flooding, inconsistent heating and air conditioning, accessibility, and lack of space for public access to committee meetings and other legislative business.”

The Senate did not pass the resolution.

The condition of the State House came up earlier this year when

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