They then let it burn for 15 minutes... because they couldn't reach Pat or I.
There is a large dry-chemical fire extinguisher 3 feet below the toaster oven, in the open. But... rather than pick it up, pull the pin, and extinguish the fire... instead, with smoke filling the house, they got online and googled "how to put out toaster oven fires", concluded that baking soda was required, didn't find any in the pantry, and so abandoned the house with the toaster oven still showing little yellow flames inside. At least they left the doors open so the cats could escape. And James did unplug it from wall current, right away.
These are boys aged 20, 17, and 15. Why they instinctively went to a web search on fire management rather than using the actual fire extinguisher sitting on the floor next to the fire... I can't figure. Sometimes face-to-face really works better than online, when it comes to nailing real flames....
The reason this was a minor incident rather than our being homeless tonight is that I have stainless steel kitchen counters, with a 12" slate backsplash and slate overhang. There was nothing flammable within a couple of feet, laterally. Had it been near the lauan plywood panelling that covers the rest of our walls, though, it likely would have gone up.