IN THE PAST three months, one golden-delicious treat has set six Tacoma homes on fire. Residents cooking French fries on their stoves turned snack time into 911-operator chat time when their kitchens lit up. (One fry guy burnt through $100,000 in damage.) And while all frazzled fryers escaped death and injury, we’re guessing their love for the tuberous bites has flickered out. But don’t blame the fries, says Tacoma Fire Department’s Joe Meinecke. “The point of the French fry story is that the cooking oil is the culprit.” When the potatoes are plunked into the heated pool of oil, the oil splatters onto the stove and quickly erupts into flames. Meinecke, taking off his firefighter helmet and channeling Tom Douglas, offered a cooking tip: “We’re recommending that people use deeper pans.”

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