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Woman injured, 3 homes destroyed by fire likely caused by ‘cooking mishap’ on Thanksgiving

TODAY logo TODAY 11/28/2020 Francesca Gariano
a group of people standing in front of a building © Provided by TODAY

Three family homes on Washburn Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts were destroyed in a fire that broke out on Thanksgiving day around 10:00 a.m. ET.

NBC 10 Boston reported that the fire sent one woman to a local hospital to be treated for serious injuries and displaced 27 residents in the three homes. Fire officials said the blaze was likely caused by a “cooking mishap” involving a deep fryer.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: A scene from the site of the Thanksgiving day blaze. (NBC Boston) © NBC Boston A scene from the site of the Thanksgiving day blaze. (NBC Boston)

"You can't underestimate the danger of cooking,” Scott Kruger, the New Bedford Acting Fire Chief said. “People are amateurs. Some people are, like myself included. You go out there and cook today — things don't always go well."

Fire officials said that they received at least three additional calls for cooking-related incidents while they were putting out the blaze.

The exact extent of damage caused by the blaze remains unclear.

"I just saw smoke and flames coming out of the building," witness Michael Meagher told NBC 10 Boston. "It was pouring out of here. You couldn't see up the street — yeah. The smoke was that bad. It was thick."

The use of deep fryers at home, especially to make foods like deep-fried turkeys on Thanksgiving, has become popular in recent years. Due to the increase in popularity, there has been a heightened number of fires caused by deep fryers. According to the United States Fire Administration, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home fires caused by cooking.

There are potential hazards to deep-frying a turkey at home due to the highly flammable nature of cooking oils and the possibility that deep fryers may tip over. The United States Department of Agriculture’s food safety department recommends reading the manufacturer’s manual for how to use the deep fryer before attempting to use the appliance and keeping a fire extinguisher nearby in case an accident happens.

For more info on deep fryer safety, head here.

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