Preventing kitchen fires

Cooking causes nearly half of all fires reported in North Charleston, according to North Charleston Fire Department spokeswoman Bianca Bourbeau.

Residents should take the following steps to help prevent kitchen fires:

. Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time.

. Check food regularly while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Use a timer as a reminder that food is cooking.

. Don't use the stove while sleepy or consuming alcohol.

. Keep oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and other items away from the stove.

. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case a fire breaks out. Call 911 before attempting to extinguish a fire.

. Place a cookie sheet over a burning pot or pour a generous amount of baking soda to smother a fire. Never use water to fight a grease fire. Salt, flour and sugar can also cause a fire to spread.

. Let firefighters handle any blaze that is too big or has been burning for more than 30 seconds.

Source: North Charleston Fire Department

Three fires ignited Monday at North Charleston homes, firefighters reported.

According to North Charleston Fire Department spokeswoman Bianca Bourbeau, the first fire was reported at a home on Plantation Boulevard. The flames were contained to an oven and no one was injured, she said.

The second fire occurred around 6:20 p.m. at a town home on Shadow Oaks Boulevard. A candle had been left unattended, Bourbeau said. Flames caused minor damage to the home's living room furniture, she said.

Paramedics treated one resident for minor burns.

Crews responded to a third fire around 8:30 p.m. on Pinehurst Street.

A grease fire ignited on a stove, displacing a family of seven, Bourbeau said. Damage was reported to the kitchen's stove and cabinets.

No injures were reported in the fire, she said. The displaced residents are being helped by other family members.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.