Belmont Football Wins Thanksgiving Tussle Over Watertown, 24-14, As Team Fulfills Pre-Season Goals

Photo: Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin with his players after defeating Watertown on Thanksgiving.

There were four goals Belmont High Head Football Coach Yann Kumin sought to accomplish by the end of the 2019 season; three concerning the team and a very personal one.

The objectives on the field were to have the program’s first winning season since 2009, make the Division 3 North sectionals playoffs for consecutive years and beat neighboring rivals Watertown on “Turkey Day.”

And when Belmont senior QB Avery Arno took a knee with the team in the victory formation, Kumin’s team met all the preseason challenges presented to it in the heat of late August. A 6-4 season, a playoff game at Danvers and a 24-14 victory on a cold windswept Victory Field over hosts Watertown.

“This is the perfect ending of a perfect year,” Kumin told his team minutes after the conclusion of the game. “I love you guys. I’m so proud of what this team accomplished because it wasn’t an easy game to play.

But it was the unspoken goal that was the greatest accomplishment for the sixth-year coach; being diagnosed cancer-free after a summer of surgery and chemotherapy at Mass General Hospital. A lot lighter and with a lot less hair than his usual appearance, the end of the season was just the beginning of Kumin’s long recovery.

“I got so many emotions right now that I don’t really know how to feel as this is the hardest year of my life,” said Kumin after the game.

“I’m so lucky to have so many people making it possible for me to fight through it and give me something to come to work for every day and believing in us and believing in what we’re doing. You know, it’s really hard to put into words,” said Kumin as he held the game ball given to him by Belmont AD Jim Davis.

Belmont finished the season winning six of its final seven games, and had a 3-2 winning record against Middlesex Liberty opponents, a first for the program. The victory is the second in as many years for the Marauders which trails Watertown. 45-49-4 with one cancellation, in the 99 years of the rivalry.

Watertown came to the game with a simple defensive scheme: stop Belmont’s offensive juggernaut junior RB Chad Francis, who had scampered for more than 200 yards four times this season.

The Raiders’ commitment to putting eight players “in the box” to clog up the line of scrimmage put a damper on Francis’ ability for most of the game to find holes to run through. Consequently, the Raiders’ decision to focus on Francis allowed Belmont’s receivers to be covered “man-to-man” downfield which ultimately proved to be the difference at the end of the game.

“We just couldn’t really get … our run game going and that’s been our money all season,” said Kumin. “We’ve had a good [passing] game all season long and so we just went over the top. We saw some mismatches and kept going to it when we were in trouble and it worked out.”

It was all Watertown to start, throwing the playbook at Belmont with sweeps, dives into the line, short passes and finally a 35-yard pitch and catch TD from Watertown QB Brennan Cook to WR Will Dolan to give the Raiders’ a 7-0 lead with 3:35 left in the first quarter.

But Belmont’s defense settled down and had three consecutive series in which the Marauders stuffed Watertown’s attack including a stellar goal line stance after the Raiders’ had a first and goal from the 4-yard line.

Belmont finally got on the scoreboard when Arno hit junior WR Preston Jackson-Stephens with a 47-yard touchdown with 2:25 left in the first half to tie the game. The score came after the Raiders had a chance to extend their lead, but a first and goal from the four resulted in a missed field goal.

Belmont was able to uncork its running game early in the third quarter as it marched downfield behind Francis and senior FB Ryan Santoro. With a third and goal from the five, Arno located senior WR Zack Hubbard on a quick slant route – which the two used to win the Arlington game – to give Belmont the lead, 14-7, at the 6:06 mark.

Taking advantage of a three and out and a shanked punt that went 5 yards, Belmont‘s outstanding kicker Hampton Trout knocked through a 30-yard field goal into a stiff crosswind to extended the Marauders’ lead to 17-7 with 1:30 remaining in the third.

Watertown found its footing in the fourth quarter as the Raiders’ scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Cook to RB Karim Monroe with 8:26 left in the game to close the gap to three, 17-14. On its next possession, Watertown found it deep in the Marauders’ end with a first and 10 at the Belmont 29. But a penalty on first down, a flea-flicker pass that nearly worked on second down and a sack on third resulted in Watertown punting the ball to Belmont’s 13-yard line with 2:55 left in the game.

After failing the move the ball on the first two plays, Belmont faced a third down and 10 from the 13 when Kumin would say later was the best play call in his coaching life.

“It’s [called] the scissors with the ‘s’ vertical. This is one of our moneymaker combos but we added a little wrinkle that allowed the seam [the gap between two defenders] to open up,” he said.

And the call worked to perfection as Arno found junior WR Matt McHugh beyond the safety and cornerback for an 87-yard touchdown with 1:50 remaining. It was Arno’s second 87 yard TD pass in consecutive games.

For Kumin, the win was less a statement of what the Marauders had done this season but rather as a foundation for the program’s future.

“This is only the beginning. We’ve always said we completed phase one with last year’s class, and that this was the start of phase two which was to make runs in the Middlesex League and the D3 North bracket to win consistently on Turkey Day,” he said.

“We’re going to enjoy the heck out of it and then we’re going to get back to work and start getting ready for next year because you know we’re just really excited for where this program can go,” said Kumin.

What’s Open (Coffee,CVS), Closed In Belmont On Thanksgiving

Photo: “Saying Grace” Norman Rockwell

Coffee and  in Belmont on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a national and state holiday – one of only ten recognized by the federal government – and while most businesses along with federal, state and town offices are closed shut, there are a few places where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen or pick up a coffee or hot chocolate (you’ll need it today!) before the annual Belmont/Watertown high schools football game, this year at Harris Field (kick off  at 10:15 a.m.)

  • Starbucks in Belmont Center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The signs in the windows at the Dunkin’ Donuts (which is being re-branded as Dunkin’) at Trapelo Road and Beech Street and on Church Street (in Waverley Square) read that the stores are operating under “normal hours”: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • CVS at 264 Trapelo Rd. is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. while the pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • CVS in Belmont Center on Leonard Street is operating from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The pharmacy is closed.
  • Star Market in Waverley Square: Closed all day.

Belmont Savings’ ‘Turkey Brigade’ Made Deposits at Local Branches

Photo: (from left) Belmont Savings’ Hal Tovin, COO; Sam Murphy, executive customer support; Katie Conachy, branch manager; and Bob Mahoney, president and CEO.

On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Belmont Savings Bank President and CEO Bob Mahoney under the guise of Plymouth Pilgrim took his annual Thanksgiving tour of the bank’s branches in Belmont, Waltham, Watertown, Cambridge and Newton as he and his “Turkey Brigade” delivered turkeys to employees for the holiday.

The turkeys were fresh from Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, Mass. Turkeys that colleagues opted to donate went to the Waltham YMCA.

Belmont Falls Late to Rivals Watertown, 34-28, on Turkey Day

Photo: Ben Jones (center) running during the 4th quarter.

The script was nearly written for a comeback of epic proportions.

Down by six with three minutes remaining in its Thanksgiving game with rival Watertown, the Belmont High School football squad was marching down the field in front of an ecstatic home crowd behind another heroic effort by senior running back Ben Jones and under the steady leadership of four-year starter quarterback Cal Christofori.

Heck, the sun was even peeking through the steel gray overcast seeming to provide the heavenly light to guide the home team to a classic victory.

But a pass thrown ever so slightly skewed to a Belmont receiver was intercepted by Watertown’s defensive back Isaac Huff finishing off the Marauders’ rally as Belmont ended the game on the wrong side of a 34-28 scoreline Thursday, Nov. 24, at Harris Field.

After reaching midseason at 3-3, the Marauders ended 2016 at 4-7, repeating last year’s record.

The loss marks Belmont’s fifth consecutive defeat to the Raiders in the yearly Thanksgiving Day that began in 1921. Watertown now leads the series 47-43 with five ties.

“It was Belmont/Watertown and we knew it was going to be a dogfight and we were pretty confident in our ability to shut these guys down, but we couldn’t shut these guys now,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin.

In a game delayed due to the Watertown squad arriving at Harris Field well past the official start time – despite having to travel a mere 2.5 miles – it was both team’s running backs who stole the show. Jones’ three touchdown performance was matched by Watertown senior Vasken Kebabjian with a trio of his own as both players collected more than 200 yards on the ground.

“Ben Jones is fantastic … [and] is a tremendous athlete and has had a tremendous season but what’s more important to me is that he’s a quality human being and quality man,” said Kumin.

Kebabjian started the scoring early as he ran 47 yards on the right side of Belmont’s defense for the first TD after two and a half minutes of the first quarter to give Watertown the lead, 7-0.

The Raiders doubled the lead with their next procession but only after being aided by the officiating crew whose rulings throughout the game left many on the sidelines and in the stands pondering its collective competence.

After missing an apparent fumble recovered by Belmont on its 36-yard line, Belmont’s Tyler Reynolds was called for pass interference despite being manhandled and thrown to the ground by the Watertown receiver as Reynolds attempted an interception.

On the next play, Raider QB Deon Smith scrambled 24 yards for the TD and a 14-0 lead with a minute left in the first.

Belmont broke through early in the second quarter as Jones broke into the open over his favorite left side of the line and outraced the defenders 45 yards to cut the lead to 14-7.

After apparently holding Watertown on a third down play, a late flag was thrown by the officials for a personal foul against the Marauders to continue their drive that resulted in a 41-yard field goal by junior Conor Kennelly to give the visitors a 17-7 lead midway through the second.

Kebabjian scored his second touchdown on a 54 yard run in the final three minutes of the half to extend the lead to 24-7. The half ended after another late flag for a holding penalty was called after Christofori hit junior wide receiver Will Ellet inside the 10-yard line with eight seconds remaining.

At half time, Kumin said “we knew we could play better” and “they came out on fire.”

It didn’t take Belmont long to score as on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter; Jones swept around the left end 71 yards to chip at the lead, 24-13 as Aidan Cadogan’s extra point attempt was blocked.

After a Watertown three and out, Belmont used a combination of Christofori passing and the running attack of Jones and fullback Adam Deese to push Watertown back to its goal. But on two occasions, the officials held up the play during the drive to discuss the location of the ball while forgetting to move the sideline markers “and both times that affected our ability to bring in personnel and our plays to call,” said Kumin.

“[The officials] certainly affected the course of today,” he said.

After Christofori found receiver junior Jake Pollack on a 10-yard pass to the 17, Jones finished the drive on a series of runs, scoring from five yards out with three minutes remaining in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 24-20.

But Watertown would take less than two minutes to score as Kebabjian scored his third long TD run, from 53-yard with a minute left in the quarter.

Belmont struck back quickly in the fourth quarter, first through a diving 25-yard catch by Ellet to the 21-yard line with Deese finishing off the drive with a fourth down dive into the end zone to trim the lead to 31-28 with 7:19 remaining.

But Watertown was soon knocking on the door as Kebabjian had two long runs to bring the ball to the Belmont 7 yard line. But a penalty and Belmont’s defensive line stopped the Raiders at the 9 which forced Kennelly to kick a 28-yard field goal that was partially deflected by Jones who got a hand on it.

Trailing by 6, Belmont took the ball with 3:08 to play at its 33-yard line and marched it down the field to the Watertown 43 yard line with 1:45 remaining before the Huff interception ended the Marauders’ final drive.

Despite the close loss, “I’m not going to hang my head one bit,” said Kumin to his players after the game.

“You took a team that had one win [four] years ago, and in three seasons you are competitive in one of the best leagues in the state. You did that. We did that. What I’m going to remember of this group of young men who had no quit in them, who sacrificed for their brothers no matter what, who played for something more than themselves every single day,” he said.

“I love you guys, and eat your turkey with pride,” said Kumin.

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Thanksgiving Day Football: Jr. Marauders Preparing Next Crop of Belmont High Players [VIDEO]

Photo: The 2016 Junior Marauders.

In the three years since he started the football program at the Chenery Middle School, James MacIsaac said this year’s crop of Belmont Junior Marauders were a bit on the small size.

“You never know who will come out for the team and this year many of the boys are still growing,” he said.

Not that there are that many giants among the approximately 43 Chenery 7th and 8th graders who suited up to play tackle football, said MacIsaac, the town’s assistant police chief who played for Belmont High School a few years back.

This season, the Marauders – which was made up of equal numbers of 7th and 8th graders – faced teams made up of mostly 8th graders, so there were some games that Belmont was starting out with a disadvantage.

“It was at times a bit overwhelming for some of the players,” said MacIsaac in late October facing a strong Saugus team at Harris Field.

While winning and losing, and at times just being competitive, is why the game is played, MacIsaac and his coaching staff are more interested in teaching the skills to play football but also to love the game.

“We want them to have fun and learn about football,” said MacIsaac

The team has had its moments, shutting out Bedford and winning the season’s finale, 28-20 against Sharon which defeated the Junior Marauders in September.

The program’s secondary objective is as a conduit for the high school team.

“Hopefully, they will continue [playing] at Belmont High and that’s what we are trying to get is to develop [that] program,” said Assistant Coach Robert Walker.

That particular goal is paying off at Belmont High School as the Marauders prepare for its annual showdown with Watertown on Thanksgiving with leading receiver Jared Edwards starting his football career as a Junior Marauder during its inaugural season.

“We want this to be an enjoyable time for the kids and I think they understand [that] since we have not had a player drop out of the program ever since we started three years ago,” said MacIsaac.

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Thanksgiving Day Football: The Hype [VIDEO]

Photo:Waiting for the game.

It is less than a week before the annual Thanksgiving Day Football game between Belmont and Watertown high schools next Thursday, Nov. 24 at 10 a.m. at Belmont’s Harris Field. Nearing its centennial – the game was first played in 1920 – the yearly clash of neighboring students has had many great moments, with the last few years archived on video.

To celebrate the event, Belmont resident and recent Belmont High graduate (2015) Lucas Tragos has created another of his outstanding sports video to relive some of Belmont Football’s memorable moments versus Watertown in their historic rivalry.

Sports: Upset-Minded Belmont Football Falls to Final Minute Watertown FG, 24-22

Photo: Belmont RB Ben Jones runs through a wide opening in the line to score late in the fourth quarter against Watertown.

In what will be remembered as an epic Thanksgiving Day clash, Belmont’s bid for a memorable upset of arch rivals and host Watertown was derailed by the foot of sophomore Conor Kennelly as the Raiders’ kicker hit a field goal from 35 yards out with 56 seconds remaining to give Watertown a 24-22 victory over the Mauraders on Thursday, Nov. 26 at Victory Field.

“We played a great football game, all aspects of it. Our coaches did a tremendous job, planning it up for them. I was really proud of the effort we put forth in this game,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kuman, who fought off his emotions to reach out to his players.

“I hope that we sent a message to people in general that Belmont football is on the rise and Belmont football is here to stay. Get ready for us because we’re going to lick our wounds and in a month we will be back in the weight room getting ready for 2016,” said Kuman.

Calling his team’s performance Thursday, “the season’s most complete game from both sides of ball,” Kuman said the players and coaches stayed with the plans mapped out in the past two weeks in preparation for Watertown’s rushing attack and strong defensive line

“We stuck with [our plan] even though we had some execution problems in the first quarter of defense, we didn’t abandon what we practiced and prepared for,” Kuman said. 

But for the fourth time in time this season, Belmont could not find a way to score or hold the lead at the end of the game.

“We have to be like the experience teams and know how to close out a game,” said Kuman.

One of Belmont’s season-long bugaboos raised its head once again as Watertown quickly marched down the field – aided by four offsides penalties against the Marauders – towards a go-ahead score. But Belmont’s interior defensive line spearheaded by senior Justin Aroyan and stopped Watertown’s running game inside the 5-yard line.

“The guys did a lot of work this week, and the coaches put in a lot of hours on the grease board and we came up with a good package,” said Kuman.

“We had faith in the guys in doing the job, and they did it,” he said., 

On his first passing attempt, Watertown junior QB Deon Smith threw the ball into the arms of junior Marauder defensive back Kevin Martin in the end zone at 4:43 in the first quarter.

After gaining a first down, Belmont’s drive stalled and on the subsequent punt attempt, the ball sailed over punter Aidan Cadogan’s head. When all was said and done, Watertown had the ball on the Marauders’ 19 when on their first play, Watertown’s Smith juked down the right side 19 yards for the opening touchdown with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.

After the kickoff, Belmont kept the ball for nearly eight minutes, mixing short runs by senior Mehki Johnson – which Watertown successfully bottled up for most of the game – and junior Ben Jones and passing by junior QB Cal Christofori to senior WR Justin Wagner (including a six-yard pickup on fourth down and four yards at the 18 yard line) culminating in Christofori finding senior WR Joe Shaughnessy on a seven-yard slant for the game-tying touchdown at 4:07 to the half.

Watertown quickly went downfield – helped by a Smith 30-yard run – finishing with senior running back Kyle Foley scoring on a 7-yard run with 41 seconds left.

But that was enough time for Christofori to complete three passes and for Johnson to break a 30 yard gain that allowed Cadogan to hit a line-drive field goal with three seconds remaining to cut the halftime lead to 14-10.

Watertown caught a break when the third quarter pooch kickoff eluded Belmont’s return team, and the Raiders recovered the ball on the Belmont 22. A few plays later, the score was 21-10 as Foley ran the ball in from 2 yards out early in the third.

But Belmont would not fold, coming out with a masterpiece of a drive,a 19 play, 11-minute possession (including a 15-yard roughing the passing personal foul on the Raiders) in which Belmont, behind the ever-improving offensive line – sophomores Dennis Crowley and Ryan Noone along with seniors Chris Piccione, Lowell Haska and Aroyan – and the bruising blocking from sophomore fullback Adam Deese saw Jones and Johnson eat up yards while Christofori connected with his favorite target Wagner.

The Marauders took the ball 81 yards where Johnson busted through for his 22nd touchdown of the season to shrink the lead to 21-16 with 9-minutes remaining. While it appeared Johnson had scored on the two-point conversion, the referees said the Belmont runner’s knee had first hit the ground.

A good kickoff return by Watertown was negated by a 15-yard personal foul penalty, and Belmont’s defense stuffed the Raiders on three consecutive plays. On fourth down, Wagner used his basketball reach to block the Watertown punt, and Belmont recovered the ball on the Raiders 10-yard line. Two plays later, Jones scored on a 4-yard run with 6:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving Belmont a 22-21 lead after missing the two-point conversion.

Watertown had the ball on the Belmont 45 and nearly lost the ball on a fumble and a near interception. On fourth down and 4 yards at the 38, Smith’s pass was a poor one, and Belmont took over on downs with 3:56 to play and up by a point.

A Christofori sprint pass to Wagner and Deese run gave Belmont a first and ten at its 48-yard line with 2:56 remaining. It appeared Belmont had sealed the upset when Johnson sprinted to the Raiders 20-yard line with 2:39 left, but the Marauders were penalized for holding. Belmont punted with 1:39 left giving the Raiders the ball on its 19.

Some hard running by Smith and a timely pass to senior Tyler Poulin coupled with two near interceptions by Belmont where Watertown receivers had to play “defense” gave Kennelly the opportunity to play the hero of the day.

Watertown now leads the yearly contest 46-43-5.

Players and coaches were resolute in defeat, showing their disappointment but also congratulating each other for the season they completed.

“The big statement of this game would have been winning it. But we’re proud of what we accomplished. This was a program with one win in two seasons, and now we’ve won seven in two [years] and competitive in all but two games this season,” Kuman said.

“The only emotion I have right now is pride. I’m proud how the kids played this year, how the coaches led the players. We’re proud where we are and really proud of what we did,” he said.

Sports: Belmont Football Snowed In By Watertown, 34-13, on Thanksgiving

Belmont High School’s Harris Field was covered with a sheet of snow with only the yard lines and the Marauder mascot dug out in preparation for the frigid start to the 94th annual Thanksgiving Day football match with Watertown High School.

And for most of the game, the boys from Belmont could not shake off their equally cold start as the Marauders did not have an answer to Watertown’s down-hill running and swarming defense which dominated the first half of the game.

Despite playing the Red Raiders even in the final 22 minutes, Belmont (3-8) lost for the third year in a row to the Red Raiders, 34-13, before the largest crowd of the season.

“That was a great Watertown team and we have no reason to hang our heads,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin, whose first year at the helm saw the Marauders break a winless streak at home and for total games while winning three games in a row, the longest winning streak in close to a decade.

A pair of plays highlighted Belmont’s turkey day just before and after halftime. After Belmont’s defense stopped Watertown on the Belmont’s 10 yard line on fourth down, senior co-captain and running back Max Jones darted over his favorite right side of the line – behind senior center and co-captain Austin Lutz, senior right tackle Deshawn Frederick and sophomore right guard Justin Arroyan – to outrun the Red Raiders’ defensive backs for a 90 yard touchdown with 2:14 left in the half.

The second big play was a 30-yard strike from sophomore quarterback Cal Christofori to senior wide receiver Jaehmar Paul in the end zone that cut the lead to two possessions at 28-13.

But on the subsequent kickoff, Watertown’s senior running back Austin Farry took Darren Chan’s kickoff and ran straight up the field for an 80 yard touchdown to increase the lead to 21 points after the extra point was missed.

Belmont found itself in a deep hole as Watertown used its strong running game led by Farry, sophomore running back Zachary Rimsa and senior quarterback Nick Giordano to run out to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Watertown defense focused its attention on stopping Jones who had an all-star caliber in the final three games with 10 touchdowns and nearly 600 yards rushing. Forced to pass due to Watertown’s emphasis on halting the run, Christofori was intercepted on his second attempt as Belmont trailed 7-0 leading to the Red Raiders’ second touchdown in the first quarter.

Belmont’s defense came to life as Watertown drove deep into the Marauders territory late in the second quarter. Led by good defensive plays by senior inside linebacker Marco Perrone and senior outside linebacker Bryce Christian as well as a diving tackle on fourth down by sophomore Ben Jones, Belmont took possession from Watertown. The next play was the scamper by Jones’ older brother.

But the defense could not stop Watertown from scoring the last of the four first half touchdowns just 70 seconds after Jones’ TD.

“We couldn’t stop [Watertown] when we got it down to 14 points despite grabbing the momentum,” said Kumin.

In the second quarter, Belmont’s defense were more assertive, including recovering a pair of fumbles. And while the offense did have a few flashes of inspiration – specifically junior running back Mekhai Johnson‘s nifty 20 yard run in the fourth quarter – Belmont tripped themselves up with an interception that was tipped three times before falling into the arms of a Watertown defensive back and being flagged for intentional grounding 30 seconds after the play after the Watertown coaching staff lobbied for that infraction to be called.

In the end, at the final huddle of the year after the game, Kumin praised his departing seniors briefly “because if I do it out here I’ll just start crying. I’m so damn proud of you.”

“I say it every week. They came to practice each day with purpose and dedication. They could have easily packed it in but they never did. I don’t know if I could have done it, but they did,” said Kumin.

For the new head coach and his staff, the next 10 days will be away from watching films, discussing strategy and motivating young players.

“But we’ll be in the weight room [on Monday, Dec. 8] preparing for next season,” he said.

Belmont Savings’ Pilgrim Bob Deposited Turkeys at Local Branches

Photo: Belmont Savings’ CEO and “Pilgrim” Bob Mahoney presenting a turkey to Pam Karalis, Belmont Center Branch Manager, on Monday, Nov. 24. 

I guess the turkey costume was just a bit encumbering.

This year, Belmont Savings Bank President and CEO Bob Mahoney took his annual in-holiday-costume Thanksgiving tour of the bank’s branches in Belmont, Waltham, Watertown, Cambridge and Newton as a Plymouth Pilgrim as he delivered turkeys to employees for the holiday.

This year the bank partnered with the “Turkey Brigade,” a sub-committee of Thom Child & Family Services in Waltham. The Turkey Brigade will be receiving 20 turkeys donated from our Bank colleagues and our grocery store partners at Star Market/Shaws, providing Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

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.