Oil on stove sparks fire in Maple Ridge house

Two women escaped unharmed, but house damaged substantially.

Two women escaped a fast-moving fire that ignited after they left a pot of oil on the stove.

The blaze started just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at a house in the 11500 block of River Wynd in Maple Ridge.

The occupants of the home were cooking when the fire started.

“It was momentarily left unattended and the pot caught fire. That’s all it take,” said fire chief Dane Spence.

The house was constructed in the 1950s, so there was not a lot of drywall to keep the flames from spreading.

The fire spread quickly from the kitchen, giving the women little time to flee. They ran outside and called 911. No one was injured, but the home was substantially damaged.

Spence said the fire illustrates why the fire department advises people against heating oil on the stove.

“Our advice is to only heat oil in a proper deep fryer,” he added.

Deep fryers are thermally regulated to not let oil get to its auto-ignition temperature – a temperature at which oil ignites on its own.

“With a pot on the stove, if you turn it up high, you can easily surpass the auto-ignition temperature,” Spence said.

“If you are right in front of it, the fire can be snuffed out by putting a lid on it and removing it from the heat source. But if you are not there to do that, the situation gets out of hand pretty quickly.”