How to use the turkey fryer safely this Thanksgiving

PERRYSBURG TWP. (13abc Action News) - You have heard and seen the horror stories of Thanksgiving gone wrong, all thanks to problems with the turkey fryer. It can be a delicious and easy way to prepare the main dish Thursday but can also be very dangerous if you're not taking the proper safety steps.

So how does it happen and how can you be safe? The 13abc I-Team taking up that task.

What you see on YouTube on Facebook videos is really the extreme.

It’s usually people doing just about everything wrong while frying their turkeys. But we found that even if you're doing just about everything right you still have the potential for problems.

In our experiment at Owens Community College, we made a mistake on purpose. We put a frozen turkey into the hot oil.

But let’s start with what we did right. After assembling the turkey fryer, we add three gallons of oil right up to the fill line. We then heated it to 325 degrees and first added our thawed turkey. It cooked just fine.

"Read the instructions. Make sure you have the correct amount of oil. Make sure that turkey is dry inside and out," said Rich Ottensman, the chairman of the Fire Services department at Owens Community College.

Now to our mistake, dropping a frozen turkey into our oil back at 325 degrees. Some of the grease boiled up and over creating a small fire by the burner.

"Usually people don't expect it. Even though they may have instructions they don't follow the instructions. They just don't realize when you're dealing with fire and hot grease it's a recipe for disaster,” said Ottensman.

Ottensman runs the fire services program at Owens. He and his team help set up this experiment. We set it up on the concrete slab. You'll never want to fry a turkey on a wooden deck or close to a house, especially with vinyl siding.

"The water will essentially splatter the grease and essentially spread it, spray out the flame even more. You'll want a dry chemical extinguisher nearby,” said Ottensman.

That’s important to remember, adding water to a grease fire makes it worse. So we didn't get some outrageous explosion. But if you get anything close to this on your Thanksgiving, it could have serious consequences.

The I-Team thanks Kroger and Walmart for donating the materials to make this experiment happen.

So pay very close attention to the directions. Be cautious and try to avoid adding alcohol to the mix.