Firefighter uses grease fire as teaching tool

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -Usually nothing good comes of it when firefighters are summoned to a fire at someone's house. But a Carlyss firefighter turned a near tragedy today into a teaching opportunity.

It was a quiet morning on Utah Street until fire trucks were summoned to a house where a pot of grease on the stove was nearly in flames. Carlyss firefighter Cody Miller says, in this case the homeowner did the right thing and probably saved her home in the process. "It was actually smoking and it almost had visible flames and it heated up pretty good and almost smoked the entire structure out. The homeowner knew enough about fire safety and fire prevention and kitchen fires to cover the fire. And what that does, that smothers the fire from oxygen so the fire has to go out."

Miller wanted to use the opportunity to remind homeowners what to do in a grease fire-- because doing the wrong thing can cause a catastrophe. "You never want to put water on a grease fire because that's just going to make it worse. You never want to try to remove the fire from where it's at because then you can suffer burns and or spread the fire. She was able to get to the lid as soon as she saw the heavy smoke in the house and was able to cover the hot grease and it killed the fire."

And Miller, who is the fire prevention officer in Carlyss, never misses a chance to teach children fire safety. The 30 year old, who has four little daughters of his own, has quite a rapport with the kids. He also found out whose homes needed smoke detectors and provided them. He tells a group of kids gathered around, "If there's smoke in the house this (smoke detector) thing's going to go off and that means you get out. And once we get out we stay out."

The kids seem to have learned something. Neighbor 9 year old Skyler Lantier says, "If there's a fire, you get down low and you don't go back in for anything."

Storm Swinney also listened to Miller.  "Smoke alarms can save your life and they can wake you up if you're in a deep sleep."

And Miller is pleased, knowing that the impromptu fire safety lesson may one day save a life. Miller reminds families with children of the importance of conducting home fire drills and establishing a meeting place for family members.

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