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Firefighters provide tips to avoid turkey fryer fires

Local - 11/20/2013 12:20 PM by Rebecca Turco

BECKLEY - With Thanksgiving a little more than a week away, firefighters urge folks to use caution when operating turkey fryers.

Each year, deep fryer fires cause an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Captain Ed Thompson, training officer for the Beckley Fire Department, explained fryer fires happen fast, causing Thanksgiving to “Go from a happy celebration to a catastrophe.”

Here are some tips Thompson provided for people operating turkey fryers:

1.Don't Overfill Your Pot With Oil - If the cooking pot is overfilled, the oil may spill out of the pot when the turkey is lowered in. Oil can hit the burner and cause a significant fire. Follow the owner's manual and make sure the oil level is at the proper level. 

2.Don't Drop a Frozen or Partially Thawed Turkey Into the Oil - Frozen or partially frozen turkey placed into the fryer can cause the oil to spill over the pot and may result in a significant fire or burn injury. Do not use water to thaw your turkey. Make sure your turkey is properly thawed and slowly lower it into the pot to prevent the oil from splashing. 

3.Don't Place Your Turkey Fryer Close to Structures or On Decks - Often, fires involving a fryer start in a garage or on a patio or deck. Cook outdoors and on a level, firm, and non-combustible surface. Maintain a safe distance from any buildings and keep the fryer off of any wooden structures. 

4.Don't Use Water or Ice - When ice or water comes into contact with hot oil, the water vaporizes, causing steam bubbles to pop and spray hot oil. Do not use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire. Keep an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires nearby and immediately call 911 for help. 

5.Don't Leave Your Fryer Unattended - Frying involves cooking with a combustible cooking oil or grease. Many frying units do not have thermostat controls and if left unwatched, the oil will continue to heat until the oil ignites. 

6.Don't Use Your Fryer on an Unlevel Surface - Many fryers are very top-heavy and can be unstable if not used on a level surface. Fryers that are used on an unlevel surface can tip over causing a significant fire or burn injury.


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