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Authorities urge caution to prevent holiday fires


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Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the busiest time of year for the Gainesville Fire Department.

“We certainly do begin to respond to more fires during the holiday season,” said Gainesville Fire Rescue Assistant Chief JoAnne Rice.

To ensure safety during the holidays this season, Rice urged caution for residents.

Many fires can result from holiday decorations like lights or candles, she said. Cooking fires also increase in the weeks after Thanksgiving.

Make sure no flammable objects like kitchen towels or electrical chords are near stove tops and keep an eye on what’s cooking. Rice also advised to keep children out of the kitchen.

“It’s not a play area. You want to have at least a three-foot clear zone around your stove and oven,” she said. “You are cooking in there, and there’s a lot of heated things and a lot of movement and activity going on so be safe in that way.”

She also said to have a lid handy if you’re cooking with grease. Water doesn’t put out grease fires, so a lid could extinguish or smother that kind of fire.

If a cooking fire does occur, Rice said to make sure everyone evacuates the building, even if a fire extinguisher is used. She encouraged residents to always call the fire department to make sure the building is safe and the fire is fully extinguished.

Kelly Price edited this story online.

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