More than 100 fires in Massachusetts occurred on Thanksgiving last year, review fire safety tips to prevent cooking fires


STOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Cooking activities have been the cause of 86% of the 704 Thanksgiving Day fires in Massachusetts over the last five years.

According to State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, there are more house fires on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year and the majority are cooking fires.  

“As you prepare to celebrate this holiday, make safety a priority. Start by making sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms,” said Ostroskey.

The safety tips the Fire Department recommends are:

  1. Checking to make sure your oven is empty before turning it on.
  2. Wearing short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  3. Turn pot handles inward over the stove.
  4. Remembering to “stand by your pan” and stay in the kitchen when boiling, frying, or broiling.
  5. Using a timer when baking or roasting and never leave the house with the oven running.
  6. The best way to respond to a stovetop fire is to “put a lid on it” and turn off the heat.
  7. The best way to respond to an oven or broiler fire is to keep the oven doors closed and turn off the heat.
  8. If the fire is not quickly snuffed out, leave the house and call 9-1-1 from outside.

Last year, firefighters across the Commonwealth responded to 123 fires that caused several injuries and more than $1.4 million in damages.

The use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that dip the turkey in hot oil is strongly discouraged by the National Fire Protection Association.

“Turkey fryers that use cooking oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer. The risk of an oil spill or the ignition of spilled oil is quite high, it is best to use oil-less turkey fryers,” said the NFPA.

A gas oven used for cooking does not produce enough carbon monoxide to be considered dangerous however it can be when it is used for several hours continuously like when cooking a turkey. Therefore it is recommended to use a kitchen fan or open a window when using it for a long period of time.

For more information, please contact the Department of Fire Services’ on their Thanksgiving web page.

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