Belmont Fire: Don’t Get Burned on Thanksgiving

Several times in the past month, Belmont Fire Department crews have been sent to homes to put out smokey fires that started from a homeowner who took their eyes off the stovetop or oven as they prepared a meal. Nationwide, cooking caused 43 percent of reported home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

On Thanksgiving, a cooking fire is three times more likely to occur than on any other day of the year

“Most fires on Thanksgiving occur between noon and 4 p.m.; the peak cooking hours,” says Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell.

“A lot of those fires can be easily avoided by staying alert and in the kitchen while cooking,” he said.

Here are some common sense take aways about Thanksgiving Day fires:

  • Many home cooking fires are caused by unattended equipment, abandoned material, a heat source left too close to flammable materials, product misuse and cooking equipment that is not properly turned off.
  • The use of turkey fryers – which use a large amount of cooking oil at high temperatures – also poses a significant danger and can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.
  • If you have a cooking fire, go outside and call 9-1-1 for help. Do not try to fight the fire yourself.
  • Thanksgiving is also a high time for cooking related burns. To prevent scalds and burns, cook on back burners and make sure all pot handles are turned inward so children don’t come into contact with them. Appliances that get hot, such as toaster ovens, should also be well out of a child’s reach. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.

Belmont Blaze Damages Milton Street House

A multi-alarm fire severely damaged a single-family home at 15 Milton St. on Monday afternoon, July 14.

According to the father of the home’s owner – who did not want to give his name – a workman painting in the garage of the two-story house built in 1930 heard the fire alarms and smelled a burning odor sometime after 2 p.m. He is reported to have found the finished attic full of smoke and reportedly saw flames. Despite using a fire extinguisher on the blaze, the conditions only got worse after which the worker shut down all the home’s systems and called 911.

According to Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell, the department’s entire company arrived to find flames in-between the attic walls. A hole was cut into the roof to ventilate the smoke and firefighters pulled down interior walls to get to the fire. By 3:15 p.m., the blaze was out, and crews were searching for hot spots or any lingering flames in the structure.

While there is fire damage to the attic and water and smoke damage to the first and second floors, the 2,300 square-foot house is “very salvageable,” according to Frizzell.

The homeowner’s father said his son bought the house last October “and we just about finished painting and doing the house over.”



Marlboro Street Triple-Decker Destroyed in Three-Alarm Blaze

A three-alarm fire that began just after midnight in a triple-decker at 58 Marlboro St. destroyed the century-old structure leaving the owner and two sets of tenants homeless, according to Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell.

The nine residents of the building escaped the blaze uninjured.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and is under investigation, said Frizzell.

A 911 call came into BFD headquarters at 12:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 21, for a fire at the address near the Cambridge town line and Belmont Cemetery, Frizzell told the Belmontonian at the scene.

The blaze quickly turned into a inferno in the rear of the 3,850 square-foot building built in 1900 with heat so hot it melted the vinyl-siding of the house with the adjoining backyard and started fires in the adjacent structures.

At the height of the incident, seven engines and three ladder trucks fought the fire that was finally under control at 2:45 a.m.

“And we are still chasing hot spots now,” said Frizzell at 5:45 a.m.

The structure, in which the rear section has essentially burned away, “is a complete loss. There’s nothing that can be salvaged,” he noted.

Mutual aid in the form of fire apparatus from Cambridge and Watertown helped fight the blaze while Newton, Winchester and Somerville fire departments covered Belmont during the fire.

In addition, five private vehicles were destroyed in the flames.

“This was a pretty big fire,” said Frizzell who was still at the site this morning.