For Immediate Release - November 17, 2016

Thanksgiving #1 Day for Home Fires in Massachusetts

There are more home fires on Thanksgiving than any other single day in Massachusetts with almost twice as many as December 25, which ranks second. “Thanksgiving is a wonderful family holiday, but the day can be ruined with a cooking or candle fire, a burn injury or a carbon monoxide incident from long-term use of the oven,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “Every home should have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.

Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home and the leading cause of fire injuries, so it is not surprising that 87% of Thanksgiving Day fires were caused by cooking. State Fire Marshal Ostroskey offered these cooking fire safety tips:

  • 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 doors closed and turn off the heat.
  • If the fire is not quickly snuffed out, leave the house and call the fire department.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep children 3-feet away from the stove for safety to prevent burns.
  • Turn pot handles inward over the stove.
  • Run cool water on burns; call 9-1-1 for more serious burn injuries.

“Last Thanksgiving, firefighters across the Commonwealth were busy responding to cooking fires,” said Ostroskey.

  • On November 26, 2015, at 2:54 a.m., the Montague Center Fire Department responded to a cooking fire in an 8-unit apartment building. Smoke alarms were present and operated; no one was injured at this fire. Damages were estimated to be $300,000.
  • On November 26, 2015, at 10:13 a.m., the Boston Fire Department responded to a cooking fire in a single-family home. Alarms were present and alerted the occupants; No one was injured at this fire. Damages were estimated to be $3,000.
  • On November 26, 2015, at 1:09 p.m., the Norton Fire Department responded to a cooking fire in a single-family home. No one was injured at this fire. Alarms were present and alerted the occupants. Damages were estimated to be $3,000.
  • On November 26, 2015, at 3:50 p.m., the Longmeadow Fire Department responded to a cooking fire in a single-family home that was confined to the stove. No one was injured at this fire. Alarms were present and alerted the occupants. Damages were estimated to be $1,000.

Gas Ovens: A Source of CO

Generally, the confined space of a closed gas oven used for cooking does not produce enough carbon monoxide (CO) to be of concern, unless you are using it for several hours like when roasting a turkey. If you have a kitchen exhaust fan, use it; if not, crack a window for fresh air when using the gas oven for an extended period of time.

Candles

Candles make any holiday table festive, but it is important to follow some safety tips when using candles.

  • Use them inside a 1-foot circle of safety free of anything that can burn.
  • Think twice about lighting the candles on that lovely centerpiece if it means you can’t follow the 1-foot circle of safety rule.
  • Use extra care with candles when children and pets are around.
  • Consider using flameless, battery-operated candles instead.
  • Blow out candles when leaving the room; don’t leave candles burning unattended.
  • Use non-combustibles holders or saucers.
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Remember to stop, drop, cover and roll if clothing ignites.

For more information contact your local fire department or the Department of Fire Services Thanksgiving web page.