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Frying turkey? Don't make house flambé in the process

Fried turkey/fryer fire
Posted at 11:15 AM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 11:15:20-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Each year, news organizations show video of fireballs shooting from metallic turkey fryers as fire departments across the country plead for sane, safe cooking during Thanksgiving.

But every year, people are still injured and property is damaged or destroyed because some don't heed some simple fryer safety tips.

  1. Stay Away from The House, Stay With It – Fire safety experts agree that you shouldn't set your fryer any closer than 10 feet from the home. Once the heat is on, someone must keep vigilant watch over the apparatus at all times.
  2. Find Flat Ground – The fryer must be on an even surface to ensure the oil is heated evenly. Don't place the fryer on planked wood surfaces like porches or gazebos, because slight movements could cause the fryer to lose balance and tip over.
  3. Never fill the fryer more than half full. Check the instructions that came with your fryer. Most will tell you to only fill the bucket one-third to one-half full. Going beyond the designated amount will cause spillover when the weight of your bird displaces the oil.
  4. Use a Thawed Turkey, Pat it Dry – Make sure your turkey is completely thawed, and pat it dry with paper or terrycloth towels. Extra water and ice crystals will cause the oil to bubble furiously and could potentially ignite anything it comes in contact with.
  5. Monitor the Temperature – As with all cooking machinery, don't touch hot surfaces directly. The lid and handle can cause burns. Oil temperature can fluctuate between batches of food and many fryers do not have their own thermostats.
  6. Be Prepared – Have a fire extinguisher rated for your fryer ready at all times in the event that oil ignites. Remember to never throw water on an oil or grease fire. Be ready to call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.