DAYTON, OHIO (WDTN)- The number one day for cooking fires occurs on Thanksgiving, but nearly all cooking related fires are preventable.
Holiday’s the time to come together with your family and enjoy a meal. But in 2021, Firefighters responded to over 1100 cooking fires in the United States on Thanksgiving, nearly three times the daily average.
“Doesn’t take long to create a fireball from a dropped turkey,” said Mike Long, West Carrollton fire inspector.
There are many different ways to prepare a turkey, a tasty option is to deep fry it outside, but it is the most dangerous way to cook. If you select this method, Long has some advice.
“Keep it away from any combustible structures. Deck, wood fence, leaves this time of year are very dry this time of year. So, you want to keep the leaves away from it and make sure somebody is always watching it, never leave it unattended for cooking either,” said Long.
Other pieces of advice include not to overfill your fryer, and always avoid distractions that take your eye off the food you are preparing.
“You will get distracted by things, especially with cell phones. Nowadays you get the phone calls, walk away. We’ve had a lot of house fires that way. They’ll walk away and the smoke detectors going off. They look in their kitchen, they’re fully engulfed,” said Long.
It’s important to properly thaw your turkey in the fridge before submerging into oil for frying. The rule of thumb is one day to thaw for every four pounds of turkey to be cooked. When the bird is thawed, use a thermometer to check that it is fully cooked before serving to guests.
“Make sure that you have an accurate thermometer and then you want to take the temperature in the breast area, and that should be 170 down in the thigh area. That should be 180. And then if you choose to stuff it in the center, the stuffing should be 165,” said Tara-Rose Groberski, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Supervisor.
If you find yourself dealing with a grease fire, never pour water on it. Instead, cover the top of your pot with a metal lid or cookie sheet until the fire is out and the metal is cool, or use a fire extinguisher.