Unattended Turkey Fryer Causes House Fire

Firefighters showing the dangers of turkey frying in an October demonstration.
Firefighters showing the dangers of turkey frying in an October demonstration.

Imagine spending Christmas with your family, fixing up a nice holiday meal, and then it all goes up in flames. That's what happened to one family on Savannah's Andover Drive yesterday. Many neighborhood residents are calling it a tragedy. A family was cooking dinner and left a turkey fryer unattended. It caught on fire, burning the house and leaving the family without a place to call home for the holidays.

Neighbor Susan Hodge said she saw "smoke pouring out of the house." The family was frying a Christmas turkey on their back porch. They pulled the bird out and brought it inside, and in that moment everything went up in flames.

"The grease heated up and reached the flash point, caught fire and spread out of the pot," explained Battalion Chief Anthony Faust with Savannah FD.

The fire department says deep frying a turkey can be very dangerous, especially if, like in this case, the fryer is left unattended. "The fire burned the rubber hose from the propane tank, which made the situation worse, which spread the fire and made it grow faster," said Faust.

Today, the family was back at their house seeing what is left of their Christmas holiday. As they went through the rubble,  Susan Hodge, a close friend and neighbor, says this is a holiday horror story. "My heart just went out to them thinking all they put into Christmas," she said.

But despite this holiday tragedy, the family experienced an overwhelming sense of the Christmas spirit. "I gave them shoes and a warmer shirt," said Hodge. "My husband gave them a warmer shirt. They couldn't go in and get their clothes immediately."

The Savannah Fire Department says the holidays can be distracting, and despite all the holiday fun, always be careful, and never, ever leave anything flammable unattended.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com