Fire officials in Broward County are reminding amateur cooks who are planning to fry their turkeys this Thanksgiving to use caution.
Wearing full protective gear, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue workers demonstrated the proper method for frying a turkey Friday in Davie. They also showed what can happen when a turkey is improperly cooked, resulting in a spillover of hot oil and potential fire.
"Every year we get more and more people because turkey frying is very popular. More and more people are doing it," Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Lt. Robert Sierra said. "And just like anything else, the more people that do it the more people that get burned. It's a very simple process: have a fire extinguisher, keep the oil around 350 degrees and have a well-thought-out turkey, and it'll be safe."
Sierra said consumer-grade turkey fryers use a substantial amount of cooking oil at high temperatures and pose a significant danger. The oil also remains hot for hours after the unit is turned off.
According to the U. S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the U. S., resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property losses, the BSO said.
Though the BSO would prefer deep-fried turkey enthusiasts get their bird from a store that fries them for you, they're urging those do-it-yourselfers to take certain precautions.
Sierra says the turkey should be thawed out and the oil vat should be on a non-combustible, steady surface away from your house.
You'll also want a fire extinguisher handy just in case. Garden hoses don't work because grease fires and water don't mix, the water will just make the fire larger.