Winter months see many house fires: Unattended cooking most often culprit



North Fulton, GA. - More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than at any other time of the year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

“The No. 1 cause of fire is unattended cooking,” said Roswell Fire Marshal Paul Piccirilli said. “Never leave cooking unattended.”

Those types of fires are followed closely by flammable items placed near an open flame.

Fried turkeys have become a holiday favorite, but special precautions should be taken for large turkey fryers, which must always be employed outdoors and away from any flammable material. Increasing numbers of household fires result from this new style of holiday cooking.

"In the hustle and bustle of family gatherings, please do not leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven," said Milton Fire Marshal Matt Marietta. "And in case of an accident, always keep an appropriate kitchen fire extinguisher handy."

As the temperature drops and residents start cozying up to a roaring fire, remember to remove all combustibles from the fireplace hearth.

Additionally, if you haven't done so recently, have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean the fireplace flue. According to Marietta, North Fulton's cities have had several house fires in the past few years due to improper maintenance of fireplaces.

"A lot of people don't realize the importance of keeping a fireplace clean and in good working order," he said. "In some cases where maintenance is not current, fires can start in the chimney and spread to the house before a homeowner is even aware there is a problem."

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