Cooking Fire in Cal State College Dorm Burns 5 Women, 2 Critically

Friday, November 02, 2012 |

EL SERENO - Five young women suffered burns while cooking in a Cal State L.A. College dorm kitchen, located at at 5425 East Dobbs Street. Just after 8:00 PM, on November 2, 2012, three college students and two friends were cooking a large amount of fried food when the cooking oil caught fire and flashed, splattering the women, causing burns.

Los Angeles Firefighters arrived at the dorm, located in a large two-story apartment complex, to find the fire quickly burned itself out, leaving behind residual black smoke & soot around the stove, along with slight charring above it. 

After ensuring the scene was safe, firefighters began rapidly treating the most critical of the five burn victims, whom ranged from 18 to 24 years-old. The severity of burns range from slight 1st degree to significant 2nd degree burns covering 20% of the body.

Over 45 firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Al Ward, quickly handled the incident. Due to the number injured, LAFD Arson Investigators along with the Cal State Police Department are performing an investigation.

Dispatched Units: E16 RA1 E2 T2 E202 RA844 EM1 BC2 E12 T1 E201 RA1 RA804 RA25 EM11 AR1 RA844 RA4 RA25 EM1
The Los Angeles Fire Department realizes the kitchen is a frequent place for families and friends to spend time together, but remind that it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house, especially if you don't practice safe cooking behaviors.

Cooking equipment, most often a range or stove-top, is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.

Safe Cooking Tips

It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave items that can catch fire, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.
Watch What You Heat
  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
  • Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
Keep Things That Can Catch Fire and Heat Sources Apart
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains - away from your stove-top.
  • Keep the stove-top, burners, and oven clean.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby counter-tops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
Prevent Scalds and Burns
  • To prevent spills due to overturn of appliances containing hot food or liquids, use the back burner when possible and/or turn pot handles away from the stove's edge. All appliance cords need to be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
  • Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens, or stove-tops. Never use wet oven mitts or potholders as they can cause scald burns.
  • Replace old or worn oven mitts.
  • Treat a burn right away, putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for 3 to 5 minutes. If the burn is bigger than your fist or if you have any questions about how to treat it, seek medical attention right away.
Remember, cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States, so please do so safely. 

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


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