The recent incident, which is not an uncommon mistake according to Sparks firefighters, sparked an exciting two-part display addressing the correct and incorrect ways to stop a grease fire at Saturday’s annual pancake breakfast and open house hosted by the Sparks Fire Department.
“A lot of people don’t know what to do (with grease fires),” said Manny Souza, a sparks fire apparatus operator.
In a panic, some fire victims mistakenly try to run outside with the fire or they pour water on the flames, he explained. Both methods can be devastating as Souza showed the crowd after breakfast was served.
After heating up a pan of lard to the point of ignition, Souza showed that simply placing a lid on the pan will quell the flames. He instructed residents to then turn off the heat source and call 9-1-1 for help.
In the second part of his lesson, Souza demonstrated the explosive result of pouring water on burning grease. Instead of quelling the blaze, the combination sent flames shooting at least ten feet into the air. Souza said such an explosion can quickly ignite an entire kitchen, plus the victim, in flames.
After Souza’s show, other firefighters demonstrated how they extricate traffic accident victims trapped inside their cars. The crowd cheered after firefighters used high-powered tools, including the “jaws of life,” to tear apart a Ford Escort by severing its doors and roof.
The action was part of the Sparks Fire Prevention Bureau’s 21st annual pancake fundraiser to maintain a fund for the benefit of Sparks fire victims. More than 500 people attended this year’s event according to Sparks Fire Battalion Chief Barry Hagen. The event kicks off the annual Fire Prevention Week with this year’s theme “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With.” Money earned by the event also is used for fire prevention education in Sparks, Hagen added.