Cooking is often a fun activity that brings family and friends together, particularly around the holidays. Valdosta Fire Chief Freddie Broome said it is also the number one cause of home fires and home injuries.
In the past week, the Valdosta Fire Department responded to structure fires on Isabella Street and Fulton Place, both of which were caused by unattended cooking. The two incidents resulted in more than $55,000 of structural damage. Fortunately, both homes had properly working smoke detectors that alerted the occupants and minimized the impact of the fires.
While the residents of the home on Isabella Street were fortunate not to suffer any injuries, an occupant in the Fulton Place home received upper airway burns when he evacuated the other occupants from the home. The man was transported to SGMC.
“The Valdosta Fire Department would like to commend this citizen for his heroic efforts in safely evacuating everyone from the residence,” said Valdosta Fire Chief Broome. “We are praying for him and his family.”
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, unattended equipment was a factor in 33% of reported home cooking fires and 49% of the associated deaths.
Chief Broome wants to express the importance of staying attentive while cooking in the kitchen. Fire safety tips are posted on the City of Valdosta website. Chief Broome encourages family members to take some time to discuss cooking safety with each other, especially in light of the holiday weeks ahead.
“Please do not attempt to cook if you are tired, sleepy or have consumed alcohol,” said Chief Broome. “We must do a better job of paying attention to the tasks at hand. The lives of the people we love depend on it.”
For more information, call the Valdosta Fire Department at 229-333-1835.