Fire officials urge caution, safety for Thanksgiving

House fire dangers are highest on Thanksgiving Day in the Bay State.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 12:14 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 4:42 PM EST
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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - House fire dangers are highest on Thanksgiving Day in the Bay State and with many families gearing up to cook on Thursday, there are some important things to remember to stay safe.

“One of our biggest worries, as a fire department, is cooking on Thanksgiving. There is just a lot of activity going on at your home at that point,” said Holyoke Fire Capt. David Rex.

With Thanksgiving being the number one day for house fires in Massachusetts, Western Mass News stopped by the Holyoke Fire Department to talk to Rex about prevention and safety. He told Western Mass News that over the past five years, there have been 678 Thanksgiving day fires in Massachusetts and 87 percent of those were cooking fires. As for the Holyoke Fire Department, last year, they had approximately 20 calls

“About three or four of each of those calls was for a cooking incident, if you will. One was a towel on a burner, one was a gravy overflowing and actually flashing, and we had one where the turkey got a little too cooked inside,” Rex explained.

One of the main concerns is the recently popular turkey fryer.

“Make sure the turkey is thawed before putting it in a turkey fryer. That’s always a big deal…If you are using a turkey fryer, make sure you are at least we recommend being at least 20 feet away from the home, so that way, if you dip the turkey in and it overflows, it’s only going to get that little area on fire versus flashing into your home,” Rex noted.

Rex said it’s important to pay attention when cooking because if you don’t react the right way, it could become more dangerous.

“Make sure you don’t leave the oven mitts and the towels you are using to cook anywhere near your stove,” Rex added.

Other important precautions to take when cooking your Thanksgiving dinner including making sure your oven is empty before turning it on, wearing short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking, and turning pot handles inward over the stove.

If you do have a fire while cooking, call 911, put a cover on an overflowing pan, and don’t throw water on it.

“We will gladly come out and check. We would rather you be safe than not want to call because you want the big red truck in front of your house,” Rex said.

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