Thanksgiving is Over But the Fire Threat is Just Beginning

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa – Thanksgiving is over, but firefighters say it's not time to breathe a sigh of relief yet.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the North Liberty Fire Department responded to two cooking-related calls, but people are just starting to rev up hot stoves, spaces heaters and decorative lights. That means emergency lights and fire trucks will likely be a common occurrence in Eastern Iowa over the holiday season. Fire crews are pushing people to think safety to keep families from harm.

"Next to home cooking fires, home heating equipment is the second leading cause of fires, structure fires," said North Liberty Fire Captain Chris Kochanny.

As a rule of thumb, Captain Kochanny suggests keeping items three feet away from a space heater to prevent them from going up in flames. He also said people need to plug space heaters directly into the wall.

The North Liberty Fire Department also knows the big meals and long days of cooking are just beginning. "When you are cooking the most important thing is safety. In your kitchen you should always have a fire extinguisher ready in case you do have an incident ready when you're cooking," said North Liberty Firefighter Craig Voparil.

The fire crew is pushing people to realize what to do when there's a grease fire on your stove. "The last thing you want to do is put water on a grease fire. Water on a grease fire can and will spread the fire very quickly," Voparil said.

Firefighters say if the fire is small enough, you can smother it with a pan lid or pour some baking powder on it. The best method, however, is using a fire extinguisher. Fire fighters say don't hesitate to leave the home and call 911.

When it comes to decorating your home, fire fighters say people should replace old lights and avoid overloading outlets. Voparil said not to plug more than three strands of lights into each other.
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