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Check your oven before turning it on – an update from Estevan’s fire department

Latest news from the fire department.
Estevan Fire Rescue building
The Estevan Fire Rescue Service building.

ESTEVAN - Estevan fire crews responded to a couple of alarms late last week.

On Thursday at about 7:30 p.m., they were called to the report of a residential fire alarm occurring in the north-central area. With no visible smoke or flame on the exterior of the building, crews entered the home to find that the homeowner had recently painted the wall and was reinstalling the monitoring devices for their smoke alarm system.

"There's no emergency occurring, thank goodness. So we gently reminded the homeowner to make sure that they're the first point of contact. And anytime there's any tampering that may set the smoke alarm off, or if you're reinstalling it, it's a good idea just to call your monitoring agency to let them know that you're doing that to avoid any unnecessary dispatching of the fire department," said Estevan Fire Chief Dale Feser.

On Sunday at about 5 p.m., firefighters responded to another residential fire alarm coming from the north-central area as well. This time there was smoke, and the family had safely evacuated the building. It was quickly learned that the source of the smoke was in the oven.

"What had happened was the person had put a plastic container inside the oven and I don't know if they forgot about it, but they turned the oven on and obviously created a fire in the oven. However, they did take the correct steps, they turned the oven off, shut the oven door and called the fire department," Feser said.

He reminded the residents to always check ovens and other cooking appliances before they preheat them and make sure there is nothing inside. He also noted that any cooking should be monitored.

"Anytime you have something on the stove or in the oven, you want to be in the kitchen area, as well.

"Another common thing that we see is people accidentally turning on burners in which there are combustible items on the burners, such as oven mitts or even some paper towels (etc.) that they're using for cooking or baking. So you want to make sure that those cooking surfaces are free and clear of all combustible items as well when you're cooking," Feser added.

The crew spent some time ventilating the house to get rid of the smoke and returned to the fire station.

With colder temperatures settling in the area, Feser also reminded the public that anytime they are using secondary heating appliances, to make sure there's adequate clearance from them to combustible materials.

"You want to observe at least three feet of clearance from clothing or anything combustible that can catch fire. You always want to purchase products that are … approved for use in Canada and have tip-over protection, so that if the unit heater falls over … as soon as it is not in the upright position, it automatically shuts itself off to avoid any fires," Feser said.