The State Fire Marshal’s office says cooking-related fires are one of the main causes of residential fires, and that statistic rises during the holidays. Many kitchens will be filled with food and people for Thanksgiving, and Fire Marshal Randy Cole reminds people to be safe.

Bob Barker, Jr., deep fries a Thanksgiving turkey the safest way, outside and away from any structure. State Fire Marshal Randy Cole confirms that dropping a frozen or wet turkey into a deep fryer can, in fact, result in an exploding bird. (Photo courtesy Todd Swift.)

Cole asks holiday cooks to make the kitchen a kid-free zone, keep a continued watch on cooking, turn pothandles to the inside of the range to avoid knocking them over, and make sure deep fried turkeys are cooked outside on a level surface. Cole says in a garage or on a front porch isn’t “outside” enough. He also warns that immersing a wet or frozen turkey in a deep fryer can result in an explosion or grease fire.

Cole says if a grease fire gets out of control, never try to douse it with water — that’ll just make it spread.

He says try to put it out instead with wet towels, flour, or a fire extinguisher. But he says safety is key. Get everyone out of the house and call 911 before the holiday turns tragic.

He says if a fire extinguisher fails to put the fire out quickly, it’s time to call the authorities.

He urges holiday cooks to avoid trouble before it starts and make the kitchen and the outdoor cooking areas kid-free zones, and says keep pets out of the way is a good idea as well.

Cole says holiday candles can start a house fire, as can Christmas lights, which many people will start to put up this weekend.

He urges folks to use extreme caution with flammable holiday decorations.

Jessica Machetta reports [Mp3, 1:12 min.]