Fire Marshals demonstrate how NOT to deep fry your Thanksgiving turkey

Deep fried turkey might be delicious, but it can be highly dangerous.
Deep fried turkey might be delicious, but it can be highly dangerous.(WLBT)
Updated: Nov. 25, 2019 at 4:37 PM CST
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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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