The Normal Fire Department says turkey fryer fires results in $15 million in damage annually. (Photo By Eric Kilby/Flickr)
NORMAL - The Normal Fire Department wants to make sure firefighters don't have to attend your Thanksgiving festivities to put out a turkey fryer fire.
According to the department, deep fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes and $15 million in damage each year.
"If you get to the point where you're seeing smoke come off the oil, it's definitely too hot and you could have a flash fire in a matter of seconds if you're not careful," NFD spokesman Matt Swaney said. "In addition to just the fire threat, there's always the threat that the oil could spill or the fryer could tip over."
Two certifying agencies, the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratory, refuse to recommend the use of turkey fryers.
"When neither one of those agencies will put their stamp of approval on something, that says a lot," Swaney said. "Because UL tests thousands of products a year for safety, but neither one of those agencies will certify a commercial deep fryer."
If a deep fried turkey is a must-have, Swaney said to make sure to allow the turkey to completely thaw before cooking it because hot oil and water could create a fire ball.
Oil that reaches 425 degrees could auto-ignite, and Swaney said to watch the temperature carefully. Most oils should stay around 350 degrees. Also, don't put too much oil in the pot.
Finally, Swaney said to never deep-fry indoors or anywhere near the home or a garage.
"While firefighters do love to eat Thanksgiving meals, we don't want to have to show up to yours for a fire," he said.
Paul Morello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.