Officials from Rutherford County Fire & Rescue (RCFR) are stressing the importance of cooking safety following a fatal fire on Lamar Road.

According to Lieutenant Matthew Lupo, RCFR and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) responded to the Lamar Road address December 8 around 10:00 for reports of an unresponsive person. Upon arrival, Lupo said the victim appeared to be severely burned.

Fire units arrived to check for fire hazards and once the scene was cleared, Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services declared the victim deceased.

RCFR officials and RCSO’s criminal investigators performed a collective investigation and determined that no foul play was involved. The fire appeared to be accidental in nature, originating from a grease fire on the stove top.

Cooking Safety

A report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released November 2019 entitled Home Cooking Fires reports that from 2013-2017, cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and home fires with injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

The document lists unattended cooking as the leading cause of the fires and ultimately, the fire casualties. “This is why it is imperative to exercise caution in the kitchen,” Lupo said. “Just a few simple cooking safety tips could save your life or the lives of the ones you love.”

Lupo highlighted the following cooking safety tips from NFPA:

  • Be alert! If you’re sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stove or stove top.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, broiling, or grilling food. If you MUST leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food check it regularly, remain in your home while you are cooking, and set a timer!
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove (i.e. oven mitts, towels, food packaging, cooking utensils).
  • If you have a small grease fire on the stove top, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning the stove off. Leave the pan covered until it cools completely.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you have doubt about fighting a small fire, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 immediately!

Lupo also reminds of the importance of working smoke alarms in the home. “Besides following safety tips, working smoke alarms are the first life of defense to getting out safely,” he said. RCFR can come inspect your alarms or install new ones free of charge. Contact the administration office Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 615-867-4626 for more information.