One family is thanking viral internet grandma “Brunch With Babs” for saving their home from a house fire this holiday season.
Barbara Costello, known as “Brunch With Babs” online, shared fire safety tips ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday to her following of nearly two million on Instagram.
One of Costello’s fire safety tips included having a box of baking soda nearby in the kitchen to put out fires.
“Baking Soda — make sure you have baking soda on hand in the kitchen at all times,” Costello, 73, captioned her video post. “Perfect for small grease fires. Just pour baking soda right on small kitchen grease fires or put a lid on the fire to cut off the oxygen the fire needs to burn. Try to wear proper hand coverings.”
The video amassed more than 125,000 likes and 1,600 comments, but the Connecticut-based grandmother never anticipated the message she would receive from one follower just one day after posting.
“Dearest Babs,” the message, from one Instagram user named Suzi began. “Because of all your tips from ‘Did Your Mother Ever Tell You’ the tip of using baking soda to put out a kitchen fire when you have no fire extinguisher saved my home.”
The message continued, “My oven caught on fire, set off my alarms, was engulfed with flames, and I remembered to grab my box of baking soda, putting it right out. The fire department came to check it and said I did the right thing and everything was out and fine. My greatest thank you for such a simple tip that saved my home. Happy Thanksgiving!”
Suzi did not return TODAY.com’s request for comment.
Costello tells TODAY.com that Thanksgiving is the most dangerous time in the kitchen.
“There are three times as many calls as any day of the year to the fire department,” Costello says. “A lot of kitchen fires start out little. Just a few safety tips in the kitchen can make sure you have a seamless holiday.”
Costello shares that the message was some of the most powerful feedback she’s ever gotten.
“Once these things go out you have no idea the power and whose lives they are going to touch,” Costello says of her social media posts. “When you get this feedback…oh my word. Nothing happens by chance. This lady was meant to see that. I always say there are no coincidences. It touches your heart…it was fortuitous.”
Costello launched “Brunch With Babs” alongside her daughter, Liz Ariola, in 2020 and began by making videos on TikTok. She quickly amassed a fan base and now boasts more than 3 million followers across social platforms. In 2022, she debuted a cookbook, “Celebrate With Babs,” which hit the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list within the first week.
Ariola agreed that this kind of feedback felt “pretty amazing.”
“This has got to be the most profound,” Ariola says of the message her mother received. “In an emergency you just freeze. Being able to help someone in such a chaotic moment right before the holidays is pretty amazing.”