Watch: The potential dangers of deep frying a frozen turkey this Thanksgiving holiday

Nov 22, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 8:28 am

PHOENIX — Firefighters at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy on Tuesday showed just how quickly Thanksgiving fun can turn into a living nightmare by demonstrating what happens when someone tries to fry a frozen turkey.

“The cold and the freezing of the turkey dropped in the hot oil causes splattering, almost an explosion of fire,” Capt. Kimberly Ragsdale, public information officer with the Phoenix Fire Department, said.

“That can happen so quickly, and now you have a fire in your backyard that has spread to your home. It’s a very dangerous situation.”

Ragsdale said there is an influx of fire calls around the country on Thanksgiving, which make up about 1,200 of the 150,000 annual cooking fires annually in the nation.

That also includes a rise in holiday cooking-related injuries.

“We get so many admissions — so many different injuries,” said Tiffany Hockenberry, director of nursing at Valleywise Health’s Arizona Burn Center, after watching the fire department demonstration. She told KTAR News 92.3 FM that can mean burns to the hands, the face, or even the full body.

“Somebody’s life can be changed in a matter of seconds, and this isn’t just a couple of months injury—this is a lifelong injury,” said Hockenberry.

How do you cook the turkey safely?

Ragsdale said make sure you thaw your turkey and pat it dry before putting it in hot oil. Keep the fryer on a level surface away from the home and avoid overfilling the fryer. Also, remember to keep kids a safe distance away, never put out a grease fire with water, and make sure you follow all manufacturer safety guidelines when using the fryer.

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Watch: The potential dangers of deep frying a frozen turkey this Thanksgiving holiday