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Cook with caution

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews have responded to 21 cooking fires to date this year. The department urges caution this Thanksgiving as the holiday marks the peak day for cooking fires.  - CKFR courtesy photo
Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews have responded to 21 cooking fires to date this year. The department urges caution this Thanksgiving as the holiday marks the peak day for cooking fires.
— image credit: CKFR courtesy photo

Thanksgiving is No. 1 day for cooking fires.

Firefighters don’t get to eat a lot of turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.

That’s because Turkey day is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In 2006, there were 1,400 home structure fires involving cooking equipment, which is more than three times the daily average.

Two cooking fires earlier this month bring the number of reported cooking fires in the Central Kitsap area to 21 to date in 2008.

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) spokeswoman Theresa MacLennan said cooking fires occur for a variety of reasons. A cooking fire Nov. 2 in the 2000 block of Perry Avenue in Bremerton was grease-related and was contained to the microwave above the stove. Damages were limited to an estimated $1,500, according to CKFR.

A cooking fire Nov. 6 in the Olympic Village Apartments started when someone unintentionally left a pot on the stove. Damage was minimal and resulted in about $500.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to NFPA, and result in more than half-a-billion dollars in property damage.

MacLennan said people leaving hot stoves unattended is the No. 1 cause.

“The majority of them are unattended cooking fires,” she said.

MacLennan said Thanksgiving is a fun time where many people are cooking and doing other things, but when people are cooking, they should devote their attention to the pots and pans on the stove.

“Many of us are busy entertaining guests and we’re pretty busy, so some things get left unattended,” MacLennan said. “We do want to be sure people are aware that when you do have guests over to keep the kitchen clear and that you’re paying attention to the cooking. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the burners.”

MacLennan said the second best piece of advice is to keep a lid beside the stove, so if a cooking fire does arise, the lid can be used to quickly snuff out the blaze.

MacLennan also urges people to not wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking because sleeves and other garments could fall into a pot or pan or touch the stovetop, sparking a blaze.

“We urge you to do your part to avoid becoming a statistic this Thanksgiving Day,” CKFR Chief Ken Burdette stated in a news release.

For more information and additional cooking safety tips, visit the NFPA’s Web site at www.nfpa.org.

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