Texas ranks highest for deep-fryer incidents, officials urging caution

Texas ranks highest for deep-fryer incidents, officials urging caution

Amarillo, TX - Texas leads the U.S. in Thanksgiving day cooking and grease-related fires, according to State Farm.

Oil-powered turkey fryers are widely available this time of year, but officials say you should probably leave it to the professionals.

Deep-fried turkey may be more tasty to some, but officials say it's a recipe for disaster. Thanksgiving sees nearly twice as many fire-related incidents in one day as the typical day, and Amarillo firefighters are urging caution.

"We recommend that you don't fry your own turkey, that you take it somewhere else," says Amarillo Fire Captain Larry Davis. "But if you're going to do that, just some common sense rules---don't overfill your fryer with oil. Keep the fryer at least 15-20 feet away from the house. If it's windy keep it even further away from that. Make sure your turkey is thawed out, make sure that it's dry because any type of moisture will have a violent reaction with that type of grease. Also, if you can, make sure that you have a fire extinguisher on hand as well."

Davis says many of the incidents go unreported due to embarrassment, or lack of caring. But insurance agent Don Tipps hears all about them in the days following Thanksgiving.

"There is an increase in you know, fires and accidents with these deep fryers," says Tipps. "Everybody you know you and I were talking before that people say it's the best way to do your turkey or whatever and so it's gotten a whole lot more popular and people get anxious and ignore some of the safety tips, so we do see an increase number of fires and just accidents with those turkey fryers."

In the event you do find yourself dealing with one of these fires, Davis says, "If you have a fire extinguisher by all means try to put it out, go ahead and call 911 anyway, go ahead and get us started in case it elevates and turns worse. By all means do not ever try to put out a grease fire with water. Don't try to drag a garden hose around or anything and put it out. That'll make it worse."

And if you have to call Tipps, he says a fire is a fire, regardless of how it was started....and claims are handled the same.

There are cheaper, oil-less fryers available, that many people say cooks just as good as the traditional fryer.