Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is urging Georgians to be careful if cooking this Thanksgiving or when they are heating up those leftovers on the stove after the holidays are over.
Hudgens said the state has had 15 fatalities so far in which the cause of the fire was cooking-related.
He said that in this type of fire, a person may come home from work, put something on the stove, then fall asleep in front of the TV while waiting on their dinner to warm up, explaining that if neglected, a stove can heat a pan to the point that the metal melts.
Hudgens has offered a number of cooking safety tips for the Thanksgiving holiday.
They include always setting a timer when cooking to avoid forgetting to turn off the burners or oven, covering a pan that catches fire with a lid immediately and turning off the burner, and wearing tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
Hudgens said that loose clothing can contact a burner and ignite.
Also, he said people should not fight a grease fire with water, as it may make the fire worse.
Hudgens also reminded people to never use a cooking stove to heat a home and install an adequate number of smoke alarms.
He said that most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while the family is asleep.
Hudgens said the advance warning of a smoke alarm may mean the difference between life and death, as nine out of ten fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases.