Fire Marshal Offers Tips to Prevent Thanksgiving Blazes

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By Sam Doran
State House News Service

Thanksgiving is more than just a holiday, it’s also the top day of the year for home fires.

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey is trying this week to get the word out about making fire safety in the kitchen a priority as people get together and put their cooking skills to the test.

“Each year, we see about twice as many fires on Thanksgiving as on the next-closest day,” Ostroskey said. “Don’t let a fire ruin this special time with your family and loved ones. Practice fire safety when cooking and heating your home, and be sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that can alert you to danger.”

The fire marshal’s office said there were 678 Thanksgiving Day fires in Massachusetts from 2017 to 2021. Eighty-seven percent of those fires started with cooking activities at home, and the fires resulted in 14 injuries and more than $3 million in estimated losses.

Ostroskey offered the following tips:

  • Be sure your oven is empty before turning it on
  • Keep flammable items away from the stovetop
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking
  • Turn pot handles inward over the stove
  • Remember to “stand by your pan” and stay in the kitchen when boiling, frying, or broiling
  • Use a timer when baking or roasting and never leave the house with the oven running
  • The best way to respond to a stovetop fire is to “put a lid on it” and turn off the heat
  • The best way to respond to an oven or broiler fire is to keep the oven doors closed and turn off the heat
  • If the fire is not quickly snuffed out, leave the house and call 9-1-1 from outside.


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