anybody else had a grease fire in their MES 40?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by bc2050p, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. bc2050p

    bc2050p Fire Starter

    one minute I had TBS and everything looked great.  The wife walked into the kitchen and we looked outside to LOTS of smoke.  Luckily it had just started and I think the turkey will survive. 

    Main thing I was curious about was.... is there anything I need to look at or check on the smoker to make sure it didn't get damaged?

  2. biteme7951

    biteme7951 Meat Mopper

    Where was the fire located?  In the very bottom pan or on top of the burner assembly? It's sometimes hard to get a turkey perfectly positioned over the drip pan (you are using a drip pan, right?) I sometimes will use a cookie sheet on the bottom shelf that leaves airspace all the way around the inside of the smoker but covers a lot more area than the oval drip pan. If there were flames inside the unit when you opened it you should check the wiring just to be safe.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Your the first person I've heard of having a fire in an MES. How big a fire was it?
  4. bc2050p

    bc2050p Fire Starter

    It wasn't very big, relatively speaking.  Of course, that really depends on what you're comparing it to.  After 14+ yrs as a firefighter, it really wasn't as bad as it could have been.

    I had my amnps going and then the smoke kinda quit. I opened the chip loader a little more in case it needed more airflow and the smoke looked good again.  I walked out of the kitchen for a few minutes and when my wife and I walked back in to look out the back door at the smoker, there was LOTS of smoke and I kinda knew right then there was probably a fire inside.

    I had a sheet pan on the next rack below the turkey and when I opened the door I noticed it was splattering when it hit the sheet pan. I took the sheet pan out and tossed it into the yard, which got the fire out of  the smoker.

    Looks like it was only the grease that was burning but I will investigate more later this afternoon.
  5. bc2050p

    bc2050p Fire Starter

    In spite of the excitement....

  6. bc2050p

    bc2050p Fire Starter

    I will post more pics when it get sliced up.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    WOW the turkey looks great!

    Maybe you should light a fire in there more often!  [​IMG]
  8. bc2050p

    bc2050p Fire Starter

    I don't think I need the stress of seeing my smoker with a full blown fire inside instead of just smoke.

    It tasted awesome and as usual, I got too busy carving it up and didn't take any more pics.  [​IMG]

    I had some bacon laying across the breasts until I put it in the oven, which is why there is such a difference in coloration.
  9. frizzlefry

    frizzlefry Smoke Blower

    I've not had a fire in my MES but I have had them on charcoal grills.  One weekend I went crazy making about 12 lbs of Stufz burgers, cooking them on one end of the grill with the fire on the other.

    There must have been a thick grease deposit because next time I started a fire in that grill it ignited, and burnt and sounded like a furnace for some time! [​IMG]

    that bird looks great all things considered.  Did it get a crispy skin out of the ordeal? [​IMG]
  10. biaviian

    biaviian Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I had almost the exact thing happen when smoking a turkey.  I didn't see the heavy smoke but in 20 minutes I burnt-up an entire round of pellets.  Then I reloaded and it did it again. Within 1 hour I went through 2 things of pellets.  It had such a foul odor that I could smell it for a few hours, the odor was stuck in my nose.  When I opened the door for the first time it was stuck due to so much grease build-up that glued the bottom rack to the door.  The turkey looked good but I couldn't bring myself to eating it because of the odor that was stuck in my head.  It was a burnt plastic smell. 

    I realized what happened.  I had two pans, side by side, below the turkey and they were sloped towards the door.  Where the two plans met it created a trough that fed the grease directly to the door.  I am assuming that it 'bounced' from the door to the AMNPS and caused a fire. 
  11. johnnie walker

    johnnie walker Smoking Fanatic

    You said you had bacon on top of the turkey? That's probably where your grease came from. Turkey still looks yummy even with all the excitement. Better keep this guy on speed dial .  [​IMG]   J/K.
  12. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  FIRE no good in smoker. Glade it wasn't worse. Turkey [​IMG]
  13. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    This is an old thread but...I had the same thing happen Saturday.  I bought my MES 30 used and it didnt have the water pan.  Well, I am a dummy and I threw two racks of spares and all the trimmings in there without a drip pan and all the sudden, flames inside.  I go to open the door to investigate and the added oxygen makes the flames so high they are shooting out the top vent.  Used some salt to put the fire out.  The culprit was the grease dripping right onto the heating element.  I've only used it 4 times, but remembered the drip pan all the other times.  Luckily, i let it cool down, cleaned it out, plugged it in and it still works.  So no damage to any of the electrical parts.  Only loss was a maverick probe...Burned to a crisp haha.  The ribs were fine though, if not a little charred on the underside.
  14. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    The worst thing you can do when there is a fire inside the smoker is open the door. Quickest and safest way to extinguish a fire in your MES is close all vents (since it will be very hot you may have to cover rather than close the top one) and unplug the unit. The lack of oxygen and removing the heating element heat, will extinguish it. Wait a few minutes after the fire is out, then reopen the vents and wait a bit before opening the door.

    (Chiefwej stands for Fire Chief and my initials)
  15. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the advice. I know this is stupid but my first instinct was saving the food and that's why I opened the door. Next time I will suffocate the fire, rather than giving it more oxygen
  16. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    A fire in a closed oven (or smoker with vents closed) will go out almost instantly once the heat is turned off. The oxygen is consumed by the fire and it goes out. Then you have to wait for the temprature inside to drop below the ignition temprature of any combustibles BEFORE you open the door (and introduce a big shot of oxygen). Otherwise you can cause a backdraft in there as all the superheated smoke and unburned gases burst into flame as the door is opened.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  17. Anyone have any thoughts about the safety of using a smoker after one of these fires? I had one and the smell afterwards was pretty terrible and chemically. The heating element still works. It looks like paint on the inside of the door is peeling. I am hesitant to use it again until I figure out if smoking in it will be mildly toxic. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  18. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I am definitely no expert on safety but I experienced this same smell after I shut down and restart the unit after a grease fire. I cleaned the smoker completely using dish detergent and water, used an air hose to clean out all the salt (used to put out the fire) and any food debris. Let the smoker run all day after it was cleaned and had no chemical smell for the 6 hours I ran it empty.. I am not sure but I think that smell is caused by the grease because I had no damage at all caused to any part of the smoker itself. Reseasoned it and have used it a handful of times with no smell or difference in the taste of the food. I doubt there is any way to really test for toxicity or chemicals present but I have been using I without any issues. Hope this helps.
  19. Hey, thanks! That is very helpful. I will do the same and see how it goes.

    Update: I did a pretty thorough cleaning and I noticed that the rubberized gasket on the door was burned at the bottom. I suspect that was the source of the acrid smell. I am running the smoker now and the smell is gone.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  20. My dad had his amnps catch on fire inside his MES 30, it was pretty windy out and we had the chip loader opened a bit, I think it was getting force fed air that did it.  His only burned for a couple minutes before we caught it, but the insulation in the door and sidewall burned and got crunchy, there is void space especially in the door now.  It had the worst burned plastic smell, didn't melt anything though besides wrecking the insulation.  He didn't use it for about 3 weeks and just left the door open, it didn't seem to smell bad the next time he used it.

    I also checked mine afterwards and even just from having the amnps sitting at the sidewall burning normally, the insulation is crunchy in mine too, too much direct heat I suppose.  

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