French fry oil fire destroys hedge

A family living in a house in the 8100 block of East Saanich Road is lucky to have only lost their hedge to fire on Sunday

News Review reader John Magi captured this photo of a hedge on fire on East Saanich Road Sunday. Central Saanich fire Chief Ron French said it was a cooking oil fire.

A family living in a house in the 8100 block of East Saanich Road is lucky to have only lost their hedge to fire on Sunday.

Central Saanich Fire Chief Ron French said an oil fire that got out of control could have been much worse.

The male resident of the home had been cooking french fries in oil, said French, when the oil spilled and caught on fire. An attempt to extinguish it with a pot lid failed and the man then took the burning pot of oil outside. From the deck, the man flung the burning oil over the side and onto a very wet hedge.

“It’s the worst thing you can do,” said French. “When oil hits water it just expands it, basically.”

The hedge, despite recent rain, exploded into flame.

“It could have been potentially devastating,” he said.

The fire department was called and firefighters used water mixed with foam to douse the burning hedge. There was no damage to the house, or inside the home, but French said the man suffered burns to his hand and forearm.

French cautions people to take care when in the kitchen — make sure pots and pans have the correct lids that fit, have a fire extinguisher nearby, or even baking soda to put down an oil fire. Water, he said, doesn’t work and just spreads the oil around further.