Thanksgiving is the time of year when family and friends gather to enjoy a meal, usually with a turkey being the star dish. It’s also a holiday where firefighters are unusually busy thanks to an increase in cooking-related fires. In hopes of informing the public of the risks, firefighters from around the country demonstrated the dangers of frying a turkey.
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While the main contributors of cooking fires, according to a report by Fox 12, are being distracted and leaving foods unattended, deep-fried turkeys are also responsible for their fair share.
If an improper amount of oil is in the pot, when the turkey is dropped in, it causes an overflow. When there is an open flame heating the pot, the oil can ignite.
Adding a turkey to hot oil also comes with risks even if there isn’t too much oil. When the moisture in the turkey heats up, it expands. As the water and steam rise, it pushes the oil up, causing it to flow over the edge and catch fire.
WATCH: How NOT to cook your turkey this #Thanksgiving… @PDXFire just gave us a demonstration on the dangers of deep-frying a frozen #turkey in hot oil. They say spraying the fire with water is a common reaction, but it can actually make the flames worse! #besafe #firesafety pic.twitter.com/lhjC3Srxli
— Tyler Dumont (@TylerDumontNews) November 21, 2018
“The oil being lighter than water encapsulates that and doesn’t allow that water to get out until it pushes that oil right over the edge of that pot and hit the open flame,” said Lt. Rich Chatman of Portland Fire & Rescue. “Once it hits that open flame, it lights on fire like you saw.”
When people try to extinguish the blaze themselves, they can easily make a bad situation worse. Using water can cause burning oil to spread, leading to more flames instead of less.
Firefighters recommend that, if you are going to deep fry a turkey, keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Additionally, wear protective clothing, like gloves, aprons, eye protection, and closed-toe shoes.
Keep the pot away from homes and decks to reduce the odds that a fire will spread if one does occur.
Finally, make sure you use the right amount of oil and proceed carefully.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 21, 2018