DUNEDIN — A 26-year-old woman was burned in a kitchen fire early Wednesday morning, authorities said.
Callie Larrson awoke to the fire in her condo at 702 Lyndhurst St., No. 824, about 1 a.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators said the blaze started when she left a pot with grease on the stove. When Larrson poured water on the blaze, she was burned on her arms and face, deputies said.
Water is never a good bet for grease fires, said Dunedin fire Division Chief Bill McElligott.
"You get a steam explosion and the grease splatters all over the place," he said. "It will actually intensify the fire."
Larrson was treated at the scene by Dunedin firefighters, then taken to Tampa General Hospital by ambulance with injuries that were considered serious but not life-threatening. She was released later Wednesday, according to a hospital spokesman.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire from spreading to adjacent units in the two-story Victoria Palms Condominium building.
There were no other injuries.
Damage was estimated at $1,000.
McElligott said the incident should serve as a reminder to residents to never leave cooking materials unattended, especially when grease is involved.
Though some believe that salt is good to use on grease fires, it's anything but, McElligott said.
"Anything finely divided is easily ignited," he said. One exception: baking soda, which is one of the primary ingredients in fire extinguishers.
"That will not explode," he said.
Though all commercial structures are required to have fire extinguishers every 75 feet of "travel distance," McElligott said it's a good idea to keep a portable one in your apartment or condo.
But make sure to keep it handy and not in a spot that you won't be able to get to if a fire breaks out in the kitchen, he said. It's best to keep them in the path of travel in or out of the room, so they can be easily accessed.
He also recommended having a tight-fitting lid nearby to cover the flames, if possible.
Rita Farlow can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4157.