NORTHPORT, Ala. (WBRC) - Jeff Jolly and his grandson were among the small crowd who gathered to watch Northport Fire and Rescue demonstrate how quickly things can get out of control with a turkey fryer fire.
Jolly remembered his first experience frying a turkey didn’t go so well. “I had a little too much grease the very first time we did and stuffed the turkey in a little faster than it should have,” Jolly said.
He made a mistake firefighters say happens often. “The grease caught fire on the side of the pot,” Jolly continued.
When fire fighters put a frozen turkey in a pot with too much oil in it, the turkey displaced the oil, causing it to pour over the rim and onto the flame under the pot. The turkey was also frozen and ice or water will react in hot oil and pop and possibly spill over.
That demonstration showed Alyson Jarnigan just how careful you have to be when frying a turkey. “I’d heard stories about frying turkeys. But I had never seen it and it was kind of scary how it spread,” she said.
“There’s an increase of home cooking fires around the holiday. Everybody’s got their family around. It’s a good time for families to gather. But they still have to be vigilant about safety,” according Capt. Roger Potter with Northport Fire Rescue Service.
The National Fire Protection Association actually discourages the use of turkey fryers.
"Overall, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. In 2017, about 1,600 home cooking fires happened on Thanksgiving,” according to the website for the National Fire Protection Association.