The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 23, 2013

Cooking fires leading cause of home structure blazes

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Those cooking up a holiday feast for Thanksgiving need to take some precautions this year to prevent accidents and fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking fires are the leading cause of home structure fires and Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment.

Enid Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshal Todd Hays is urging residents to exercise extra care and caution this holiday.

“Never leave cooking unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling,” Hays said. “If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.”

He said those cooking need to remain focused on the task.

“If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly,” Hays said. “Remain in the home while cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.”

Grease and oil are common causes for cooking fire. Hays recommended keeping two items nearby when cooking.

“Always keep an oven mitt and tight fitting pan lid nearby when you’re cooking,” Hays said. “If a small fire grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until completely cool.”

Hays also recommended only cooking when you can devote your full attention.

“You must be alert when you are cooking,” he said. “You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs or have been consuming alcohol.”

If a fire gets out of hand, call the fire department.

Hays said, “If you have a cooking fire and are in doubt, just get out and call the fire department.”