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cfntmpn Jun 19th, 2006 05:30 PM

what to do when there is a fire in your oven?
How is this travel related? I am supposed to leave tomorrow morning for NJ for 4 days. Tonight, I was cooking a nice little dinner for hubby and I, I turn on the pre-heat on the oven and continue fixing my salad.

After a few mins I smell something funny - I look outside, thinking maybe someone is bbqing - I forget about it and continue on doing something else.

After about 10 mins that funny smell is getting really intense! I glance down and see flames coming from my oven! Long story short, there is a plastic bus tub in my oven ~ it's a long story.

I yell to DH - I need your help - he comes in, opens the oven - yup, fire in the oven - it's getting worse, the smell is horrible. Luckily I have a fire extinguisher in the garage, he proceeds to empty the entire thing in my oven, fire goes out FINALLY. (it took awhile).

I have looked on the internet, googled, cannot find any info. What do i do now?

Has this ever happened to anyone? Can I use my burners? How do I get the burnt plastic out of my stove? My homeowners insurance is about the same as what my stove cost, would rather not go there. Hubby not happy.

P_M Jun 19th, 2006 05:41 PM

That's horrifying, but what is even more shocking is that you would consider using your burners after such an experience!! Please, I beg of you, do NOT use any part of that stove or oven until you've brought out a repair person. It sounds like you have extensive damage and you might need a whole new oven/stove. But for Pete's sakes, use the microwave until you can get someone out there.

easytraveler Jun 19th, 2006 05:43 PM


Well, let's see. Where's the plastic tub? Is it melted onto the rack or are parts of it stuck to the bottom of the oven?

Oven fires mostly occur when people don't clean them and there's a buildup of grease. The grease catches fire and voila - food never got crispier than this!

Usually when the grease catches fire, it'll burn the heating element (the thing that glows red when you turn the oven on). A lot of these heating elements are easy to just pull out, take to an appliance parts store, and get a replacement. Sometimes these things are screwed into the back of the oven. Maybe hubby can help - unless he's mechanically challenged like some of the men in my family!

As for cleaning off the gunk inside the oven, try Easy-Off, the kind that will work in a cold oven. Read the label.

Yes, you should be able to use the burners. They should be separately wired. If the fire were really bad, tho, you have have melted the wires and fused them together. You'll have to say how bad the fire and how hot.

Good luck! Maybe you should just get a new oven. It may be cheaper in the long run.

LoveItaly Jun 19th, 2006 05:43 PM

Hi cfntmpn, I don't have advice about what to do about the oven and/or the stove. I would call an appliance store for advice.

I am glad you are not going to turn this into your insurance co. however. That I do have advice on. As unfair as it is insurance carriers have really cracked down on insured's that turn in what they consider "small claims". Have a couple of those and you will find that you possible will not have your policy renewed. And then you will have a problem getting a policy from another company. One of the reasons I sold my insurance agency. And the reason I take large deductibles. The premium is lower and I would not turn in what the insurance carriers consider nuisance claims. Thank heavens you were home..or guess in this case that your husband was? "Hubby not happy"..well guess you aren't either!

easytraveler Jun 19th, 2006 05:45 PM

BTW, if you're leaving tomorrow, it might be a good idea to pull out the oven and disconnect it from the wall.

P_M Jun 19th, 2006 05:51 PM

I know you said it's a long story, but I'm dying to ask--why was there a plastic bus tub (whatever that is) in your oven?

Also let me expand on my previous post. You might think that the only damage to your oven is melted plastic, but that combined with a fire could affect other parts of your oven or stove. That's why I think it's best to leave then entire unit alone until you can get someone out there to look at it.

TheWeasel Jun 19th, 2006 05:57 PM

"Have a couple of those and you will find that you possible will not have your policy renewed. And then you will have a problem getting a policy from another company."

I think it would be an especially bad idea to file a claim with your insurance company given the circumstances; a fire started by yourself. That might be a red flag, so I'd repair the stove or just buy a new one.

I agree with others: don't use it until it's been properly looked over and cleaned out, and if it's electric than definitely unplug it while you're away.

cfntmpn Jun 19th, 2006 05:57 PM

EXCELLENT idea about unplugging the oven. I'm leaving - dh is staying. That's all I need is to have dh FORGET that we have burnt plastic in the oven and "here we go again".

The plastic tub was on a rack - so the rack is out of the oven (of course) and the tub is still stuck to it.

LoveItaly - all of the reasons listed are exactly why I will not be turning it into insurance. I believe my deductible is over $1K, though my beautiful stainless steel stove cost a little over that, I know better than to turn it in - thank you for your input.

For those of you concerned that I will try to use the burners, rest assured I will not be doing so soon - just thought I would ask while I was assessing my options/damage. I will keep everyone posted of the verdict after I tt Sears tomorrow morning....

P_M Jun 19th, 2006 06:04 PM

Whew, I'm glad you're not using the burners. I'll be anxiously awaiting the news tomorrow. Good luck, I hope your stove doesn't get a death sentence. :-)

zztop Jun 19th, 2006 06:07 PM

Years ago, the same thing happened to my mother. The kitchen was very small. She used to use the oven for storage. She melted a tupperware cake container in the oven. We still laugh about it years later.

cfntmpn Jun 19th, 2006 06:15 PM

Did the stove survive?

Your story is very similar to mine, hubby carried something to the house in a big ol' bustub - where does one store a big ol' bustub? In the stove.

We're not laughing yet....

Nina66 Jun 19th, 2006 06:21 PM

What hurts more - the possible ruination (is that a word) of an expensive stove that you liked, or the fact that you were to blame. Speaking from personal experience(s), I would opt for the latter. That is really adding insult to injury :-( With my luck, the fire extinguisher would have been empty.

As my mother would have said, 'at least no one was hurt'.


LoveItaly Jun 19th, 2006 06:38 PM

Hi cfntmpn, do try to have a good trip. As I said just yesterday on another thread, "stuff" always seems to happen right before a trip, sigh. Do just try to be thankful that you were right there in the kitchen and consequently your house didn't catch on fire. Best regards.

MelissaHI Jun 19th, 2006 07:01 PM

hee hee. I think it's so hilarious that we have to somehow justify travel relatedness so as not to get scolded by the hall monitor.

In any case, I hope it all works out and you can enjoy your trip!

Scarlett Jun 19th, 2006 07:24 PM

melissa :D
ok, I had a fire in my oven ( why does that sound sorta naughty ? )
I put French (keeping this about travel) rolls on the rack to heat them for dinner..when I reached in to take them out, they fell on the bottom burners and burst into flames.
( We live in one of those Green Buildings where smoking is forbidden anywhere, smoke detectors are everywhere and the fire alarms are really loud)
I panicked thinking I would have the fire dept there immediately and be thrown out for smoking my rolls.
I had to use tongs to take the little flaming rolls out..when everything is cooled down, a lot of things will just chip off, hope the plastic does the same thing. :)

wow Jun 19th, 2006 07:35 PM

What is a plastic bus tub?

LoveItaly Jun 19th, 2006 10:17 PM

LOL Scarlett, when I was young and not yet married I cooked dinner one night and was baking porkchops as I had a boyfriend come over for dinner. I don't know what happened but the porkchops caught on fire. This is way before smoke alarms.

Smoke started billowing out of the oven, out of the kitchen, out of the entry hall and into the interior hallway of the apartment building.

Everyone showed up! The apartment manager (one mad Italian let me tell you), the neighbors and the Fire Department.

One of my most embarrasing moments, lol.

gail Jun 20th, 2006 01:03 AM

Is it gas or electric?

Most appliance manufacturers have on-line or phpne help lines. I would call them.

I think you have 2 possible issues - fire extinguisher stuff and possible damage to stove from fire. The fire extinguisher stuff can be removed but it is difficult - I know - I had to use one last summer on my gas grill which was on my deck (I know, they are not supposed to be above ground level) becasue grease pan caught on fire. What a mess to clean up.

The other issue is possible damage from fire.

Call manufacturer and see what they say.

gail Jun 20th, 2006 01:05 AM

Another thought - I hope this caused your smoke detectors to go off - if it did not, replace them. The gas grill fire showed us that one was malfunctioning.

mclaurie Jun 20th, 2006 04:35 AM

I too want to know what a bus tub is.
:-? YOu are sooo lucky there wasn't any serious damage and no one was hurt.

Something similar happened to a former neighbor in the country. She never used her stove and stored dry dog food in the oven in a plastic container. She was moving out and thought she should clean the outside of the stove. She must have accidently activated the self-clean button (!) while washing the knobs. Major fire. When the fire dept. came, they disconnected the stove (and moved it out of the house. There was a lot of smoke.) We got an appliance repair person over to have a look at the stove. He said certain parts would need replacement (we were able to scrape most of the plastic off). In the end, she bought a new stove.

Wednesday Jun 20th, 2006 04:37 AM

a bus tub is a plastic container with no lid, like a bus boy would carry to put dishes in when he clears a table.

mclaurie Jun 20th, 2006 04:39 AM

Thanks Wednesday. :)>-

schmerl Jun 20th, 2006 04:46 AM

Years ago my mother was softening brown sugar in the oven at a low temp. She forgot about it and it caught fire. There was no melted plastic mess, but the fire ruined the insulation in the oven and we had to get a new one.
GET A WHOLE NEW OVEN. Don't mess around with it.

cfntmpn Jun 20th, 2006 05:09 AM

Yes, a plastic bustub is what you use in a restaurant to bus a table.

My husband and I own a restaurant - it is located approximately 100 feet from our house. Often we "grocery shop" at the restaurant - (bring food from the restaurant to our house to cook - in this case it was 2 nice, juicy 22oz bone-in ribeyes and 2 salads).

Hubby had spinal cord surgery last August. The surgery was rather extensive and involved operating on the nerves that surround the spinal cord. Well, the nerves do not like to be operated on and we were advised prior to the surgery that due to this fact there might be some loss of movement/strength is hubby's left arm/hand.

Sure enough, the strength in hubby's left hand/arm is slowly returning, so it takes a little more effort to carry things. Thus - the bustub.

He carried 2 steaks and 2 prepared salads in a bustub to the house.

Have you ever had a bustub in your kitchen? It is rather large! Of course my first thought when I put it in the oven was "I have to remember to return this to the restaurant tomorrow so I don't start it on fire the next time I turn on the oven."

So there you go....I have to wait till 10am to call Sears....

kswl Jun 20th, 2006 05:19 AM

CTNTMPN, please do not consider using your oven! Unless you are able to get every last tiny bit of plastic off the oven, you will be risking your health.

Burning plastic releases all kinds of toxins into the air, including dioxin, which can be deadly. I wouldn't take the chance that the stove could be completely cleaned of the plastic and would not sell the stove secondhand or as junk without some written assurance that it would not be sold as a working stove.

Wednesday Jun 20th, 2006 05:40 AM

you are welcome mclaurie !

I forgot to mention my own baking mishap like this...when I was a kid, I loved to bake cakes and whatnot and once took a hot cake pan out of the oven and put it on top of a plastic cake cover, whoopsie, melted right to it...

mms Jun 20th, 2006 06:08 AM

So glad that at least it was limited to the oven! Fires can spread so fast.

LoveItaly--LOL...I have a similar story. Was getting ready to go to a luncheon, had rolls in the oven and butter melting on the stove. Forgot about the butter and went to the back of the house to get dressed. I heard the smoke detector go off, but thought it was for the rolls, so didnt race out. Well, our son was about 3 and he came running into my bedroom, where I was in the middle of getting dressed. I had my nylons only about halfway up when he said "get out of the house! there is a fire!". So I run (sort of...nylons halfway up!) out and find black smoke billowing out of the kitchen and flames from the stove up to all the cabinets/ceiling. I was able to grab the handle of the pot and take the flaming butter outside to the patio (it was dumping rain). Thankfully everything was only charred, but did not catch fire. By that time a neighbor came over (also going to the luncheon with me) I was in a skirt, nylons halfway down and soaking wet. Not a pretty sight. I did manage to get myself pulled together, and got the rolls, and went to the luncheon looking pretty good but with frazzled nerves. We were in base housing, and everyone joked that it was the best thing to happen to one of those kitchens.

Suerich68 Jun 20th, 2006 06:19 AM

Call an appliance repair service.

mclaurie Jun 20th, 2006 07:18 AM

mms :-d So glad it wasn't more tragic though.

There was the time I was in college, home on vacation. Had a college friend coming for a visit. Went to the train station to pick him up, got back to the house to find 3 fire trucks in front of the house and a burnt pot on the driveway. No sign of my Mother. She was making veal cutlets and had a grease fire in the kitchen. (She was inside opening windows.) She threw the pot out the front door. #-O

LoveItaly Jun 20th, 2006 09:07 AM

MMS and Mclaurie, LOL. The things we remember thanks to a Fodorite's question. There is probably not a cook that hasn't caused a fire, or an almost fire!!

About those nylons around your legs MMS, not your most elegant presentation, eh?

LeDoutre Jun 20th, 2006 09:34 AM

Don't feel bad; it could have been so much worse.
A surgeone friend of ours got called out on an emergency and while she was away, her teen-age daughter decided to make some deep fried spring rolls, meaning a pan full of hot oil. Mid way, her best friend called and she wandered out of the kitchen for one of those long teen-age chats...until she smelled smoke, ran back and saw the entire kitchen going up in flames. Her friend called 911 for her and the daughter managed to get all the pets out, but the kitchen was a total loss. On the bright side, after a lot of stress, they got the kitchen they'd always wanted.

I suggest you bring in the pros and take their advice, even if it means getting a new oven.

FainaAgain Jun 20th, 2006 10:26 AM

Oh, you really mean the oven...
the baking oven!

When there is a fire in your oven... NO, I don't want to get banned ;)

mms Jun 20th, 2006 11:39 AM

LoveItaly--LOL! Definitely not one of my finer moments:D

rb_travelerxATyahoo Jun 20th, 2006 11:46 AM

What a GREAT short story! Maybe there's a writer's forum you could post this too.

I don't want to disappoint those who would call me a hall monitor, so here's my take.

I too am <b>traveling</b> tomorrow and have done MANY things today too. Does anyone really want to read about them? And I started my day with <b>Columbian</b> coffee and a <b>Danish</b>, but I'm sure no one really wants me to continue. Heck, even I don't.

FainaAgain Jun 20th, 2006 11:51 AM

RB, so you don't feel left out, there is a &quot;useless information&quot; thread. I'll top it for you.

JAGIRL Jun 20th, 2006 06:00 PM

O.K. so...let's make rb happy, shall we, Faina? cfntmpn is gone to NJ so let's &quot;threadsit&quot; till her return, shall we? :-)
Travel related question:
<font color="blue">When there is a fire in your oven, the best thing to do is to go on a 4 day mini break and leave DH to clean up the mess. Where is the best place to go on such a mini break?

LoveItaly Jun 20th, 2006 06:09 PM

A lovely beachfront resort would be my choice after the trauma of having the oven catch on fire JAGIRL.

Which, btw, did anyone read about the dear little pup that burned down the kitchen. True story. The owners had left a box of donuts on top of the range. The owners left the house. The dear doggy decided he needed to eat some donuts. He jumped up to get a donut and in doing so accidently turned on the burner to the range. The box of donuts were sitting on the burner.

The result was $75,000.00 fire damage to the kitchen. Little pup managed to escape without injuries.

Guess the lady of the house will have a new beautiful kitchen, lol. A true story!!

And a lesson..never leave anything sitting on top of your stove range. Bad idea!!!

kodi Jun 20th, 2006 07:07 PM

Ok, I'll be the first to admit there must be something wrong with me... and I have a morbid sense of humour.
I've been reading this post and can hardly read it, because of the tears running down my face......from laughing so hard.

My story won't qualify because it didn't cause a fire... but it does make me laugh now. I was cooking a turkey, and when it was done, I opened the oven door, slid the rack out and prepared to remove the turkey from the pan right there. I got the turkey about a foot above the pan, dropped it, and it went crashing down, hit the edge of the pan, the pan flipped up in the air, the turkey went flying and the grease from the flying turkey and the flying pan, splattered grease ALL over my kitchen in every direction. The open door of the oven was also filled with grease.
Oh what a mess... but I did get all the grease cleaned up.
But it did mean replacing the carpet out in the hallway... Yes the grease flew that far.

I'm glad I now know what a plastic bus tub is.

LoveItaly Jun 20th, 2006 07:23 PM

LOL Kodi, I had an aunt who was a fantastic cook. She pulled the turkey out of the the oven and left the turkey in the roasting pan on the opened door of the oven.

She went into her pantry (old fashion house in Oakland CA that had a pantry) to tend to something. She walked back into the kitchen to find their dog chewing away on the turkey.

Fortunatly it was not a Thanksgiving dinner but it was a birthday dinner for my uncle. He was not one happy birthday boy, lol!

Betsy Jun 20th, 2006 09:52 PM

OK, I have a story. I'm originally from VA, where Smithfield ham is a cherished and delicious tradition. After a trip to VA, we toted a ham back to home to CA with us and although I had prepared a Smithfield ham before, I decided to use a new recipe that I saw in one of the major culinary magazines. A bottle of white wine was poured over the ham, which was then baked in the oven a covered roaster. About an hour after it had been placed in the oven, I heard a loud explosion and dashed into the kitchen to find that the oven door had blown open, the ham, roaster and wine were on the floor and the (electric) oven was in flames.

Although no lasting harm was done to anyone in the family, the oven or the ham (I washed it off and continued cooking it the traditional way), I was understandably terrified at the time. I wrote the magazine and an editor phoned me to suggest that there may have been a spark in the oven which ignited the wine. A spark in an electric oven? I suspect she was more concerned about liability issues than my safety! All's well that ends well.

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