A group of friends are at the house, we're having fun, then Casey and John pull me aside and give me a Saint Michael locket and ask me to be Kael's godfather. Obviously, I said yes. It's important to remember that Saint Michael is "the protector".

After some congratulatory hand shaking and back-slapping, I said "let's put the burgers on!"

Now you should know that I have never used this grill with charcoal. Mine is a two-chambered grill with the right side for smoking meat and the left side is regular propane. I have used the smoker hundreds of times. The "smoker" side is also made to use as a charcoal grill.

Here's a picture of my grill...with Zoey the Wonder Mutt being lazy in the background:


So, I opened the lid, placed charcoal on the grill and lit it. As soon as I put the lighter on the coal, it went up in flames! After getting over the initial shock of my grill being engulfed in flames, I realized my stupidity.

As I said, I have used the smoker/charcoal side HUNDREDS of times to cook everything from ribs, briskets, turkeys, chickens and everything else you could imagine. That produces a BUNCH of grease...which all collects in the bottom of the grill. Disaster waiting to happen.

When the open flame of the charcoal came in contact with the grease: BOOM!

Everyone in my backyard was scrambling now. Women are screaming. Neighbors are peeking over the fence. I'm hysterical. I can see the A-J headline now: "LOCAL MORON BURNS DOWN MOST OF CITY!". They probably wouldn't even throw in a plug for Kool 98. They never do!

My friend John (who is the new father to this godchild I'm supposed to be "protecting") tells me to throw either flour, baking soda or corn meal on the blaze. All I had on-hand was two bags of flour. On the fire they went. With disastrous results.

The second the fire hit the flour, it was like a million little sparklers on the 4th of July! Not only did it not help, but it made things much, much worse...and got all over me.


By this time, I was certain that my beloved smoker/grill was history and my house was going to catch on fire at any moment. It should be noted that we would've moved it into the open yard, but it was about 4000 degrees at this point.

I decided to call the Lubbock Fire Department and they showed up within 5 minutes.


We all pointed the firefighters to the blaze, and I felt like crawling into a hole somewhere I was so embarrassed. Here I am, the "King of the Cookout" and I pulled the biggest rookie mistake EVER!

The firefighters were very cordial and didn't even chew me out. One of them even told me that he had done something similar...when he was in COLLEGE! That still made me feel a little better.


The LFD got everything under control and got the fire out in less than two minutes. They even had the courtesy to be gentle with my grill! One of them even said "That's a sweet smoker!"...which helped my bruised ego tremendously.

The guys told me that you should NEVER throw flour on a grease fire. Use baking soda. Or, better yet, a fire extinguisher...of which I am the proud owner of TWO now! For your safety, go get one for inside AND one for outside the house HERE.

Some important information on grease fires:

Grease fires happen when collections of oil or grease on a stove, oven or fryer get hot enough to ignite. Grease fires are extremely dangerous because the fuel source (the grease) is a liquid, and easily splashed. Grease fire burn very hot and can quickly spread to cabinets or other flammable areas of the kitchen.

The most important thing you can do to prevent a fire in the kitchen is to stay put. The NFPA reports that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Stay by the stove and be prepared for flames.

You only have a few moments to either put out a grease fire or escape the house.

Here's How:

1. DO NOT USE WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! (see Tips) Start evacuating everyone from the building. Fires spread extremely fast and can overwhelm victims in minutes. Treat burns only after evacuating the building.

2. Call 911. There's no reason to wait, and the fire department can always go back to the station if you are able to get the fire out without help.

3. The easiest way to smother a grease fire is to cover it with a pan lid. Be careful with glass lids; they can break from the extreme heat of open flame.

4. Grease fires can also be smothered with baking soda, but it takes a lot of baking soda to do the trick. Unless the baking soda is easily accessible, it's usually easier to quickly find a lid.

5. A dry chemical fire extinguisher will also work, but it will contaminate your kitchen and food. Class K fire extinguishers are available to put out grease and other kitchen fires, but they are usually only found in commercial kitchens.


1. DO NOT PUT WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! This cannot be stressed enough. Pouring water on burning grease or oil will not extinguish the fire. It will only cause the burning oil to splash, spreading the grease fire around.

2. DO NOT TRY TO CARRY THE FIRE OUTSIDE! Trying to carry a pot or pan full of burning oil will just slosh and splash the grease fire.

3. Treat burns only after the fire is contained or the building is completely evacuated. Read How to Treat a Burn for advice on burn treatment.

4. If clothes are caught on fire; STOP, DROP, and ROLL to extinguish them.

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