Tips for cooking your turkey safely

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MONTOURSVILLE, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Thanksgiving holiday is less than a day away. Many families are already in the process of cooking and prepping the turkey for dinner Thursday night, but there are some safety tips to keep in mind.

Eyewitness News spoke with a local fire chief about fire prevention and how to safely prepare a deep-fried turkey.

It’s the holiday of feasts and family. As people get ready for Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember fire safety. Scott Konkle, the fire chief at Montoursville Fire Department says to always be attentive when cooking.

“First of all, make sure your ovens are clean when you start. Don’t leave things unattended for a long period of time. Smoke detectors should be working, check your batteries,” Konkle said.

Each year from 2017 to 2019 there were about 2,300 residential fires on Thanksgiving, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Konkle says to be extra cautious when deep frying a turkey.

“You want to make sure turkey is thawed, patted dry. Dip it slowly into the 500-degree oil,” Konkle said.

If the turkey is still frozen, it could cause the oil to explode and cause a fire as seen below in a simulation.

Ideally, you want to use a smooth concrete surface or a flat area in the backyard.

“This is something you never do indoors. Again, keep it away from any structures. Any wooden porches, patios, awnings, anything like that. You want to be in the clear to do this,” Konkle said.

Over the years, Konkle says he’s seen his fair share of fires during the holidays and reminds residents to keep an extinguisher nearby, just in case.

“You definitely don’t want to mix any water with it or try to extinguish it with water. Pretty much take the heat away and let it burn itself out if there is an issue with the oil itself,” Konkle said.

A common misconception is that this won’t happen to you, but it can. If a fire grows out of control, always call 911.

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