Turkey Troubles--Part II - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/24/04

Turkey Troubles--Part II

How are you planning on preparing your turkey this Thanksgiving? Some might toss it in the oven, others might choose another way. Frying the Thanksgiving turkey has become very popular. But it could mean trouble.

Turkey fryers are the hottest cooking item on the shelves, literally. Jim Johnson with Home Depot advised customers "to be cautious when frying. Do not leave it unattended. Almost every year there's always a couple of deaths, several homes are burnt down because of it."

If you think it couldn't happen to you, think again. Just ask Everett Goethe. "In a matter of moments, it just wiped us out."

His  family's house was left in charred ruins after their turkey fryer burst into flames last Thanksgiving. "I got distracted, is what happened,after I took the turkey out and the flame just combusted," Goethe told us.

Oil left unattended will catch fire, but according to the Savannah Fire Department, that's not the only thing that can go wrong. "Frying a frozen turkey, or a partially frozen turkey, is always a big concern, because there's water that's in the bird that will melt. It will expand," explained Matthew Stanley with Savannah FD.

To show us exactly what they were talking about, the Savannah Fire Department cooked a turkey that was left with a small amount of water it. Just seconds after putting the turkey in the fryer, the result was a fireball consuming the pot, ready to spread quickly.

And once the flames spread, don't try to put them out yourself. Call 911.

That's exactly what Everett Goethe did. And he did have something to be thankful for last Thanksgiving since everyone got out of the burning home safe and sound. As for his holiday plans this year: "We'll probably have a turkey, but it will be back the old-fashioned way, through the oven."

A couple more tips the Savannah Fire Department would like you to know: if you plan on frying a turkey, never heat the oil above 350 degrees and never overfill it. If you place it in an open space away from your home and anything else that can catch fire, you should be good to go.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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