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Don't sterilize masks in microwave ovens

Microwaves aren't meant to heat up cloth masks.
Mask in Microwave
The Ontario Fire Marshal's Office says microwaving a facemask is a fire risk. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office is warning the public not to microwave their face masks as a sterilization technique.

John Pegg, the Ontario Fire Marshal, said microwaves are not meant to heat cloth materials, which means there is a risk of overheating them, leading to a potential fire.

"Heating a face mask in a microwave, in an effort to decontaminate it, is a potential fire risk and should never be done,” Pegg said in a release issued on Tuesday.

Pegg added there have been 51 fire fatalities in Ontario between Jan. 1 and May 4, a 65 per cent increase over the same time period last year. Seventeen Ontarians died in fires in March alone. Thunder Bay has one fire death in 2020, a man who died in a Machar Avenue fire in January.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 19 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Wants his Expos back. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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