Deep frying a turkey this Thanksgiving? Fire department highlights dangers, safety tips

Marcus Solis Image
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Fire department shows potential dangers of deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving
Marcus Solis has more on the fire safety tips for Thanksgiving.

OSSINING, New York (WABC) -- Most people agree that a well-cooked turkey is a key centerpiece for any Thanksgiving meal, but depending on how you cook it, it can be dangerous.

Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis got a first-hand look at the dangers of deep frying a turkey.

It's a quicker, tastier alternative to the hours-long oven roast.

Deep frying a turkey, which an estimated 20% of Americans will try this week, is a reward that comes with great risk. It has the potential to produce a fire that can flash over in a matter of seconds.

"Normally the person doing it would be over the top of the pot putting it in, leaving very little time to react," said Chief Michael Scarduzio of the Ossining Fire Department.

On Tuesday morning, department highlighted some of the dangers of deep frying, specifically lowering a frozen turkey into a pot filled with an incorrect amount of oil.

Overfilling the pot with oil is the most common and dangerous mistake, but it's not the only one.

"The oil should be the right temperature, obviously use a thawed out dry turkey, if you use a frozen turkey it could create problems," said Donald Farrell of the Firefighters Association of New York.

Even without deep frying, Thanksgiving is the day with the most cooking-related fires in general, with more than three times the daily average.

In 2021 alone, fire departments around the country reported an estimated 1,160 fires.

It's an extra cause for concern because New York has had more fire deaths this year than any other state: over 120 and counting.

Experts recommend being aware of your surroundings in and outside of the home.

"Make sure you're away from the structure, make sure your area is nice and clear, make sure you're on a stable surface," Scarduzio said.

Officials suggest a simple, but often overlooked safety precaution: read the manual that comes with your fryer.


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