State fire marshal warns of Thanksgiving turkey fryer, oven fires

Frozen turkeys should not be placed in the fryer.
Frozen turkeys should not be placed in the fryer.(Source: WSFA)
Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 3:20 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Before you put that turkey in the oven or in your fryer, make sure you do so safely, as thousands of fires ignite in American kitchens every year.

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates over 187,000 cooking fires in residential buildings a year, and with more folks in the kitchen on Thanksgivings Day that risk increases.

“Do not think that what you see on the news happens to someone else, somewhere else,” Alabama State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen said. “If we’re not careful, it can happen to us.”

Pilgreen believes Thanksgiving fires are far too common, but they can be prevented. He recommends moving your turkey fryer away from flammable objects – including your home.

“Have it outside number one,” he said. “You know, you want these appliances outside. Once you get it outside, have it plenty of distance from your home, or whatever structure is around where you have the turkey fryer at.”

Additionally, the fire expert wants the public to make sure they are using the proper oil to fry their bird.

“All oils are not created equal,” Pilgreen said. “Some of them have a higher flashpoint.”

He encourages people to double check their fryers directions. Another tip, make sure to thaw out your turkey before submerging it into the cooker.

“The last thing you want to do in boiling, hot oil is put a frozen turkey in that oil,” he said. “That can cause a lot of problems with oil, you know, spewing out and spreading.”

The marshal believes awareness is key. That is why people ought to keep a watchful eye on their appliances to make sure they operate properly.

“It goes to anything that we do, is playing close attention to the details, good common sense and respect the appliance or whatever it is you’re using – do not take it for granted,” Pilgreen added.

If the worst comes to worst and your home does catch fire, the state fire marshal recommends you have a plan in place to get out quickly.

People should dial 911 in the event of an emergency.

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