A good friend of mine was recently cooking dinner and she and her boyfriend were trying a new recipe out for crab rangoons. The final cooking step was to deep fry them.
They heated the oil on her stove... and ended up overheating it. The lid was on, but it was smoking, and they decided to take it off of the stove and bring it out to the deck to let it cool. Everything was fine until they took the lid off – and a literal fireball instantly came up out of the pan. Her hair caught fire and she has second degree burns over a good deal of her face.
That sounds bad, but it could have been much much
worse. She told me that her first instinct was to grab a handful of snow and put it into the pan when he took the lid off. Now, oil flash combusts at over 600 degrees (http://missvickie.com/howto/spices/oils.html
), and water is heavier than oil. What would have happened if she threw snow in - the snow/water would have hit the oil, and instantly turned to steam – blowing the burning oil out of the pan in a literal fireball. There are frightening
youTube videos of exactly that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecvG7sb4H4M
I know about oil fires because I bought a deep fryer a few years ago and Demo showed me those videos as a warning about how to deal with it if it ever caught fire. He wanted to be sure that I took what he told me seriously. I never would have known previous, and I think a lot of people don’t either.
So… if you ever have oil or grease catch fire on your stove (or even start smoking) turn off the heat and cover the pan. If it’s covered, don’t touch it, moving the cover could allow oxygen in and cause a blow up.