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Holiday tradition that costs families $15M a year in damage

Tuesday - 11/13/2012, 1:43pm  ET

WASHINGTON - For some, frying the Thanksgiving turkey is a family tradition. But every year families lose their homes and sometimes loved ones due to fires caused by deep fat fryers.

Just like other potentially dangerous household appliances like generators, deep fat fryers cause more than $15 million in property damage every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA also says hot oil splatter from cooking the bird can cause serious burns.

One-third of fryer fires start in a garage or patio, but there are simple steps to take to avoid common fire hazards.

  • Cook outdoors at a safe distance from any buildings or trees.
  • Avoid a hot oil spill by first filling the pot with cold oil and then lower the thawed turkey into the pot to determine how much more oil is needed.
  • Shut off the fuel source when adding the turkey to prevent a dangerous flare up
  • Never leave the turkey fryer unattended.
  • Do not use ice or water to cool down the oi or extinguish an oil fire
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
Source: State Farm Insurance

Watch how quickly an oil fire can start while frying a turkey:

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