SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - "When I come in here and look at this, I get emotional," said a Sylvester woman as she looks at the damage from a fire in her kitchen early Tuesday morning. "Even now I'm getting emotional," said Dorothy Tolbert.
Tolbert is thankful her family members are okay but she wants to warn others of the dangers of kitchen fires.
"It beeped a high pitch beep and it said fire fire fire," said Tolbert as she recalls waking up to her smoke detector Tuesday morning.
Tolbert is thankful for her smoke alarm after it helped save her life.
"I'm just so grateful to god," said Tolbert.
Her husband woke up early to turn on the oven to help heat the house, something firefighters warn against.
There was a pot of grease in the oven so he put it on the stove.
"When he sat it on the stove, I believe he accidentally hit it and caused it to come on," said Tolbert in relation to the pot turning the switch to activate the stove.
After hearing the sounds of the smoke alarm, Tolbert looked in the kitchen where flames were coming from the pot.
Sylvester Fire Chief Jack Colby said many house fires originate on the stove.
He warns everyone to take extra caution while cooking, especially around the holidays.
"Safety needs to be the key word in anything," said Colby.
He said to never leave food unattended and to make sure children stay far away from the area where you're cooking.
"It's just as big or if not a worse issue when a child or something pulls a pot over and get burned," said Colby.
The Tolberts were able to get the fire out with an extinguisher that was kept in the next room.
The extinguisher helped put out some flames but it didn't help the greasy pot.
"The pot was still on the stove, so the fire kept blazing and blazing so he said honey you need to get the pot off the stove," said Tolbert.
Colby said grease and oil can be difficult to deal with. He said water and the fire extinguisher are not the answer.
"If you have a grease fire you definitely don't want to put water in it. You can actually blow it out of the pan with a fire extinguisher," said Colby. "The best bet is to simply put a lid on it and let it smother itself out."
Now Tolbert hopes her experience warns others to be cautious.
"You can replace a stove, but you can't replace a life," said Tolbert.