Thanksgiving day is a dangerous one for fire. State fire marshall Randy Cole says the kitchen becomes a dangerous place. “With the number of folks and the family gatherings there will probalby more cooking done this particular day than any other day of the year….Nationwide, firefighters respond to about three times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day as they do any other day of the year,” he says.
Cole says many of the fires are grease or oil fires that are best handled by smothering them. He says it’s a mistake to grab a pan or pot that’s on fire and to try to carry it outside or to throw water on a grease fire. He says both things only have a tendency to spread the fire and cause more injuries.
He says deep-frying turkeys requires special care–to make sure the vat is not so full of oil that placing the turkey init will cause the oil to overflow onto the fire. Cole says common sense requires cooks to make sure the turkey fryer is well away from the home or a deck and from combustible materials.
Cole says throwing water on a grease or oil fire is exactly the wrong thing to do because the burning oil will only splatter and spread. He says the way to put out grease and oil fires is to cut off their supply of oxygen by putting a lid over a burning pan or bowl or using a fire extinguisher.
Cole says fires sometimes happen in ovens. He says it’s the wrong thing to do to try to grab the burning food out of the oven and take it somewhere. He says it’s better to keep the door closed but to turn off the oven. He says the fire will burn itself out when it consumes the air in the oven.
Bob Priddy interviews Randy Cole