Berkeley firefighters rushed to the Gaia Building last Nov. 19, responding to reports of smoke pouring out of an apartment. Since firefighters always worry about fires in high rises, they quickly responded to the unit in question, discovering on their arrival that the highly pungent smoke in question was coming from the broiler.
Opening the broiler they discovered the source—a quantity of a certain popular medicinal herb recently blessed by Berkeley voters.
“They extinguished it with a glass of water,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong.
With winter’s arrival and the first of the seasonal holidays this week, the deputy chief had two warnings to issue.
First, he warned Berkeley residents to keep an eye on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District www.sparetheair.-org website, where every day officials post a “Check Before You Burn Update.” Starting a fire in the in the fireplace can lead to a citation and fine on spare the air days. Violations can be reported at (415) 749-4979.
His second warning concerned Thanksgiving chefs, especially those which cook their birds in deep fat fryers.
“Always have a fire extinguisher on hand,” he said, because grease fires can be very tricky and can quickly spread.
Fires that burst out on stop tops should be immediately covered to smother the flames, and with oven fires the first step is shutting off the heat—something to do with stove top and fryer blazes as well.