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Stop Fire: 3 Things You Should Do Now

chris-may-web Chris May
Chris May is anchor of CBS 3’s Eyewitness News at 5, 6 an...
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By Chris May

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Last year across America,1,000 home fires were reported every single day.

Are you making a critical mistake that could lead to a blaze in your home? Everyday items that inside your house could lead to a disaster. We have the three things you should do to prevent it from happening to you.

Your kitchen, your garage, your basement, all potential flashpoints for disaster. How quickly can something like this happen and really cause a problem at home?

“In the blink of an eye,” said Steve Pelna, assistant chief of the West Chester Fire Department.

West Chester Fire helps show us three ways to stop fire in your home.

Number one: Keep aerosol cans out of the way of heat and flame. It seems obvious, but too many times, disaster happens.

When you’re grilling, it’s great to keep cooking spray around but those cans contain propellants such as butane. If you leave it the wrong place, bad things will happen.

In a demonstration with this cooking spray, flames shoot out from the melted nozzle of the can.

“Basically the contents want to get out of that container at a very high rate of speed,” Pelna said.

And when we left a can of lubricant over exposed flames, the can becomes a rocket. We found it half a football field away from the test building.

Hairspray, insect repellant, spray paint, cooking spray, and more are all extremely flammable and explode in fireballs. Imagine those flames reaching your ceiling.

Even a pet can cause trouble. Last year during a reality show taping for the Pet Collective TV, a rambunctious dog bit and punctured a spray paint can. Then, with cameras rolling, the fumes reached the oven pilot light and burst into flames. Dog, owner, and crew were okay.

Number two: Don’t store your gasoline or gas-powered tools inside over the winter. A Minnesota family storing a gas-powered air compressor in the basement learned a hard lesson this year. The gas spilled. The vapors ignited on a pilot light and burned a woman.

If gas spills or leaks, the fumes can easily be sparked by a furnace or a water heater. Those flames rush back to the can and explode.

“The biggest thing is storage,” Pelna said. “Keep it away from anything that could potentially be a heat source of any kind.”

And make sure to completely drain all gas-powered equipment before storing it indoors.

Number three: Know how to stop a grease fire. Don’t use water. Use a lid or baking sheet to choke the fire of oxygen, and keep it on until the fire is safely out.

Saving your home requires not just common sense, it requires vigilance. “It can happen so quickly before you even realize it,” Pelna said.

Also, it’s a good idea to check your aerosol cans for rust. Rusting cans can start leaking fumes or even explode. If you see rust? Throw it out.