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Mar 11, 2008 02:39 PM

Using A Fire Extinguisher

Never in my life did I think I would ever need to use a fire extinguisher, luckily my boyfriend had the foresight to make sure our kitchen was well equipped, just in case. In the last two months I've had to use one twice. First on our toaster oven over a piece of toast. This morning, much to my dismay a cardboard pizza box was left in oven and I unknowingly turned on the oven to make my breakfast. I smelled smoke a few minutes in, turned off the oven and grabbed the extinguisher. Now I need to figure out if there is a certain way I need to clean up the powder residue left over from my breakfast mishap. Has anyone else ever had to use a fire extinguisher in their kitchen? Does anyone else keep one in their kitchen and my most pressing question, is my oven ruined now? Chowhounds...

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  1. Halogen from fire extinguishers is highly corrosive to metal. Clean it thouroughly a fast as possible. As for how to clean it and make your oven safe for food, I don't have the answer. I just know that powder residue will attack and corrode metal, electrical connections and other things.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Paul Weller

      highly unlikely that any home use fire extinguisher is charged with halogen -- an inert gas.

      Even less likely that a home fire extinguisher is charged with Halon, a ozone depleting reactive gas that was popular to protect computer centers and electrical equipement.

      Most fire extinguishers sold for home kitchens are charged with CO2 and a combination of bicarbonates -- essentailly baking soda.That will pose no risk to your oven.

      If you had a general purpose "dry chemical" fire extinguisher it is most likely charged with CO2 and monoammonium phosphate. This is a generally a safe chemical, though it is messy. Vacuum it up. Wash the area with plain water (it should dissovle). It may discolor copper. Your stove should be fine.

      1. re: renov8r


        Any slight damage or mess caused by the typical fire extinguisher is minimal compared to a kitchen or grease fire.

    2. Call your fire department. I'd hope someone there would know!

      1. You most likely used a dry chemical extinguisher. First, check the type of fire extinguisher. This will be listed very clearly. It is most likely ABC or BC. If you used a traditional ABC dry chemical extinguisher, it tends to make quite a mess. Supposedly, the BC chemical extinguishers are easier to clean up. If you call your fire department, tell them the extinguisher type and that you used it on hot appliances in your kitchen. Here is some more info:

        1. Thanks Chowhounds. You guys are pretty darn handy. Latter that day I did call our local fire department. He said to just vacuum it up and use a damp sponge to clean up the rest of the powder. I used the oven again last night, everything seemed fine. The only problem is that it still smells like I've been smoking a ham in my house but I've been keeping the windows open, luckily we live in San Diego!

          2 Replies
          1. re: RebJaeBoe

            Oddly, the pizza box forgotten in the oven is precisely what I just went through last night. I'm wondering, though, whether your extinguisher was based on mono ammonium phosphate or sodium bicarbonate? The links I've been reading suggest the latter is an easier and less problematic clean-up. Mine is the former (mono ammonium phosphate) and it would be somewhat reassuring if it turned out that's what yours was as well.

            (Mainly, I'm wondering, if mono ammonium phosphate is "mildly corrosive if moisture is present", how I'm supposed to scrub/flush it out.)

            1. re: theonetruebix

              I know your question was months ago - sorry for just now realizing it. I'm hoping that maybe this can help future pizza box burners. I'm not 100% sure but I think the extinguisher was the mono ammonium phosphate variety, it was dry. I cleaned up everything first with a damp sponge and then after some scrubbing I turned on the self-cleaner. The oven looks as good as new and works perfectly. No problems with corrosion. I hope that helps.

          2. Of course we keep one in the kitchen -- along with a large, opened box of baking soda slipped into a ziploc bag. And yes, I have had to use it, when dinner caught fire under the broiler.

            Make sure that you have an extinguisher designed for grease fires. And for those who have never had to use one -- you only have one, direct and short shot to the fire -- it is not like those large extinguishers you see people use on television, where they can wave it back and forth. That, to me, was the biggest surprise.