Fire Marshals demonstrate how NOT to deep fry your Thanksgiving turkey

Fire Marshals demonstrate how NOT to deep fry your Thanksgiving turkey

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi State Fire Marshals demonstrated how not too deep fry a turkey this Thanksgiving.

Firefighters placed a partially-frozen turkey into a fryer overfilled with too much oil. The oil spilled over, catching on fire.

"Never, ever try to cook a turkey in hot oil if it's frozen," Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said.

In 2018, 10 people were killed from cooking-fire related deaths in Mississippi. According to National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak for home cooking fires.

"We see a lot of homes burn up over the year," Chaney said. "Over 4,000 in this country, as a matter of fact, on Thanksgiving Day, of people trying to cook a turkey that's been frozen and not knowing how to do it. If you're in doubt, don't do it."

Fire Marshals have a few tips to avoid disaster when using a turkey fryer:

  • Fryers should be used outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Some turkey fryers are designed for indoor use. If you use one of these, follow manufacturer directions carefully.
  • Never use a fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dried before cooking. Be careful with marinades, because oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends you thaw a turkey 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
  • The Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends, when using a propane fryer, using a hose at least 6 feet long to distance the propane tank from the fryers flame.

Chaney also said many people admit to drinking a few beers while cooking their turkey--something you shouldn’t do.

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