Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Though Thanksgiving Day is a time to celebrate with family and friends, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue officials are reminding people that it is also a time when serious fires occur.
According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are reported each year and cause an average of five deaths, 25 injures and $21 million in property loss.
Cooking is the leading cause of fires and fire-related injuries both in Las Vegas and across the nation, officials said.
Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in these fires, while combustible items being too close to the stove ranked second and equipment not being turned off ranked third.
Fifty-seven percent of reported home cooking fire injuries occurred when victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
Fire officials advise people to stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food and to turn off the stove if leaving even for a short period of time. They advise keeping anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop.
In case of a stove fire, officials said, shut off the stove and cover the fire with a pan or use an extinguisher. Throwing water or any other substance on a fire could cause it to flare up.
To combat buildup of carbon monoxide, officials said, run vents in the kitchen, especially near the stove. They also advised opening windows and doors in the kitchen at least once an hour to allow fresh air to circulate.
If frying turkeys, officials said, never use a fryer indoors and keep it away from buildings, children, pets and combustible items.
Fryers and all outside cooking devices in apartment complexes must be kept at least 10 feet from any building or wall, cannot be under an overhang and cannot be done above the first floor.
Also, make sure all indoor and outdoor cooking appliances are turned off before going to sleep and to take all trash outside and keep it away from the house.
Officials also said more fireplace fires occur on Thanksgiving Day in the United States than any other day. They advise making sure the damper is open and the chimney flue is clear to allow smoke and gases to escape properly.