Look, it happens. You walk away for…well, it was going to just be a second but then something more exciting happened than whatever you left on the stove, and now there's an open flame, possibly billowing smoke and the most annoying smoke detector alarm, ever. What do you do?
Let's start with what not to do: reach for a water bottle or the sink sprayer. You can't put it out with water. Don't even try. Water and whatever is on fire, especially in the case of a grease fire, don't mix.
First, obviously, turn off the stove. Then, if the handle's not currently melting or too hot to handle with a potholder, remove the flaming cookware from the burner. Don't remove it from the stove or you'll slosh around whatever is on fire and risk spreading it or burning yourself. Try smothering the flames with a metal pot lid (steer clear of glass). If you don't have a pot lid handy (or you're just kind of freaking out in general), suppress the urge to smother it with anything else. Try a sheet pan or even another pot or pan — anything to cut off the oxygen.
If your fire is seriously out of control, maybe you shouldn't be cooking. Find a fire extinguisher post-haste, spray the fire out and prepare to clean that foam out of kitchen crevices for a long time. If you don't have a fire extinguisher and time appears to be of the essence, get out of the house, call 911 or the Fire Department and stick to microwaves in the future.
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