Durham Fire urges caution when cooking for Thanksgiving

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Friday, November 25, 2022 12:23AM
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As dangerous as frying turkeys can be, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- As dangerous as frying turkeys can be, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Thanksgiving is also the time of the year when the Durham Fire Department sees an increase in cooking fires as well, according to division chief Jim Cole.

"Usually it is unattended cooking where people aren't really paying attention to what's going on," Cole said. "A stove top can boil over, people will put grease on to start warming up the grease, and it'll catch on fire."

From Nov. 14 to Nov. 20, the City of Durham reported nearly 130 fire and rescue responses and nine structure fires.

"Pay attention to what's going on around you, stay safe," Cole said. "Put the handles of the pan to the inside so you don't go by them and knock them off the stove."

In October, the City of Durham received more than 24,000 911 calls.

Cole added this is also the time of the year when people fall trying to put up Christmas lights.

At UNC Health, the day after Thanksgiving is always known to be extremely busy, according to emergency physician Dr. Ryan Lamb.

"There's the simple ones that occur from just more people cooking and being around cooking ... like burns and cuts," Lamb said. "And then foodborne illnesses from improperly cooked food, handled food, or food that stays out for too long."

Lamb said they also see patients with more complicated health issues.

"People who have problems with either their kidneys, liver and particular heart," Lamb said. "Too much salt, which is kind of associated with a lot of the food that we're eating and consuming over Thanksgiving. That ... leads to fluid retention, which can lead to congestive heart failure."

Lamb expects to see more heart injuries and heart attacks on Friday, which come as hospitals brace for a potential "tripledemic," this winter.

"This year is obviously different," Lamb said. "We're dealing with three viruses that we're seeing. Still quite a bit of which is RSV ... and influenza, as well as COVID-19."

Both Lamb and Cole stressed safety and health as people gather for the holiday season.