- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging Tennesseans to be safe in the kitchen during the hectic holiday season.

Officials say unattended cooking ranks as the leading cause of U.S. home fires and home-fire injuries.

During 2009-2013, Tennessee fire departments reported more than 9,800 residential structure fires involving cooking equipment.

Those fires resulted in 33 civilian deaths, 249 civilian injuries, and more than $37 million in property damage.

Gary West is deputy commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Insurance’s fire prevention division.

He says cooking fires during the holidays usually occur because people are busier, and often become rushed, distracted or tired.

For safety tips, visit: http://www.tn.gov/fire/ .

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