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Thanksgiving Holiday has Highest Rate for Kitchen Fires

“It's that period of time when you walk away, although we all think it's only for a few seconds, it often ends up being longer than that and that's when tragedy strikes,” said Deputy Bruce Bouch, Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - Most house fires start in the kitchen because of unattended cooking, and the Thanksgiving holiday has one of the highest rates.

During the holidays fire officials say there are more distractions that can lead to unattended cooking.

“Anytime you walk away from that stove, you should turn the burners off. It's that period of time when you walk away, although we all think it's only for a few seconds, it often ends up being longer than that and that's when tragedy strikes,” said Deputy Bruce Bouch, Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Officials say to also remove any combustible items like dish towels, and give yourself a three foot kids-and-pet-free zone.

“You want to make sure that handles are turned inward so that they're not hanging out over the edge because it's the little ones with the wondering hands could grab a hold of it, knock it down,” said Bouch.

And for small kitchen fires, officials say use the lid as a shield when approaching the flame, cover it, turn off the heat and then back away.

“If it's a lot larger, don’t stay and fight the fire,” said Bouch. “Get everyone out to safety, close the doors as you leave so you're not feeding more oxygen to the flames. Call 911 outside; be outside when the fire dept arrives. You can tell them everything they need to know, they'll handle the situation.”

And before the big feast, fire officials also recommend checking and testing all smoke detectors and alarms.

Fire officials also recommend having a fire escape plan ready, just in case of an emergency.

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