Common causes of oven fires

Written by barb nefer
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Common causes of oven fires
Ovens can cause kitchen fires. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Kitchen fires are the most common types of household blazes, and most are triggered by cooking, according to U. S. News & World Report writer Luke Mullins. Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources, because they generate heat with gas or electricity. Oven fires happen in a variety of ways related to cooking, cleanliness and even the condition of the appliance.

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Never leave something to bake in the oven without monitoring it regularly. Many fires happen when someone turns on the appliance, leaves something to cook and leaves the room, or even the house, for an extended period. Turn off the oven if you cannot keep an eye on the item while it is baking, and finish cooking it later.

Lack of Cleaning

Oven fires often happen because of a build-up of grease and other cooking byproducts if you do not clean the oven regularly or do not do a thorough job. Even dust can trigger an oven blaze if it gets thick enough, according to the Garden Grove Fire Department. Clean your oven regularly, especially if you spill something or food boils over inside of it, and use only appropriate cleaning products.

Improper Use

Ovens are meant to cook food, and using them for other purposes can lead to fires. Never use an oven as a way to heat your home if your furnace is not working, the Garden Grove Fire Department warns, and never dry combustible materials inside it. Do not use it to store flammable items when you are not cooking, and remove other stored items, such as pots, pans and bakeware, when using the oven. Bake only with pans and other cookware approved for use in an oven.


Ovens can malfunction and start a fire, especially if they are old, not maintained properly or damaged in some way. Electric ovens have heating elements that can spark a blaze, while gas models may develop leaks that can lead to explosions. Turn off your electric oven if you see sparks or if it does not work properly. Immediately call the utility company if you smell gas that could indicate a leak around your oven or stove, the Garden Grove Fire Department advises.


Never open the oven door if you see a fire inside, the U. S. Fire Administration warns. Otherwise the flames could potentially burn you, ignite your clothing or spread outside of the appliance. Turn off the heat and see if the fire dies out on its own. Use a fire extinguisher if the flames spread outside of the oven through the top, sides or bottom. Get out of the house and call the fire brigade if you do not have an extinguisher or cannot put out the spreading fire yourself. Always have a repair person evaluate your oven after a fire, as it will likely need repairs or replacement.

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