- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois fire safety officials are encouraging people to be safe in the kitchen to avoid house fires.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal on Friday reminded state residents of the dangers of leaving the kitchen while cooking. Unattended cooking has been the top cause of home fires and injuries since 1990.

Statistics show Illinois had 5,200 cooking related fires between 2010 and 2012. They caused 40 deaths and 337 injuries, as well as $78 million in damages.

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis (mat’ KHi -tis) says children who aren’t trained to follow basic safety present additional dangers.

Officials recommend that residents should stay in the kitchen while cooking. They also suggest people keep flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, and food packaging away from stovetops.

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