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Rural Metro says the number one cause of house fires during Thanksgiving is cooking

Several house fires are usually reported during the Thanksgiving holiday, as people cook dinner in ways they may not have before.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Rural Metro Fire Department said Thanksgiving is a day when they usually see a spike in the number of reported house fires. People may try to deep-fry turkeys or try other unconventional ways of cooking the traditional dinner.

"Nobody wakes up and says, 'Oh, I think I'll have a house fire today,'" said Jeff Bagwell with Rural Metro. "There's an uptick. Just this week alone, we've responded to four and that's in three days."

He said Rural Metro is working hard to prevent house fires from starting in the first place. He said that by the time neighbors call about flames seen burning in another home's roofs, it's too late for any fire department to do anything to totally save the home.

"We would much rather people invite us to Thanksgiving dinner, rather than us have to go through 911 to get there," he said.

He urged homeowners never to leave their dinner unattended while cooking. He also said people should be careful to cook food at the right temperature and avoid overheating it. He also said that if people are cooking a turkey outside, they should stay a safe distance away from their homes.

Anyone who decides to fry a turkey outside should make sure to thaw it first. Otherwise, it could create a dangerous situation with flames spitting out from a deep-fry pot.

"Be aware when you're cooking outside with things like deep fryers, where kids and pets are. Pets are another cause," said Bagwell.

He also said people should make sure their smoke detectors are working properly if they choose to cook a turkey inside of their home. It can alert people if there is an issue inside of their oven, and help them respond faster.

And if anything catches fire during Thanksgiving, he urged people to call 911 immediately.

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