LUBBOCK, Texas – Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with family and friends, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Dallas Cowboys football, and, of course, the delicious food. With so much going on, it can be easy for the chef to get distracted.
“People leave the house, they’ll run to the store real quick, and then by the time they get back, a lot of times they’ll find the fire department there at their house,” said Nick Wilson, the deputy chief of Lubbock Fire Rescue (LFR).
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more home fires on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.
“The biggest thing we want people to do is just make sure that they pay attention and they’re present when they’re cooking,” Wilson said. “Unattended cooking fires account for the majority of all the cooking fires.”
Wilson said a frozen turkey and hot oil are a recipe for disaster.
“When that water around that frozen turkey hits the hot oil, all that hot oil is going to come out, it’s going to hit the flame on the bottom of that burner, and the result is a very large fireball that a lot of times can injure people and/or catch anything around it on fire,” Wilson said.
If your bird does burst into flames, Wilson said it’s important to know what not to extinguish a fire with.
The biggest thing people do, particularly with grease fires, is they put water on it,” Wilson said. “Hot grease and water absolutely do not mix. Another misnomer is people go to put flour on a fire, and a lot of times, you can end up with a bigger fireball, so just leave it there, call the fire department, cover it with a lid, turn off that stove, and use a fire extinguisher are always good tips in the home.”
If you’re brave enough to use a fryer, Wilson has advice to keep your turkey and family out of trouble.
“Fry that turkey away from the house or anything combustible,” Wilson said. “The second thing is to make sure that the turkey is completely thawed, but depending on the size of that turkey, it may take a day or two. Once you thaw that turkey, we want to make sure to open it up, pat it dry, and get as much of the water or any residual ice or anything leftover. That definitely maximizes your chance to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.”