How To: Prevent Thanksgiving fires with Gulfport Fire Department

Chief Kelly also says if a grease fire does start, call 911 immediately and don't try putting it out with water.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 7:56 AM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A frozen turkey and hot grease... not a good combo. If you’re not already thawing out your turkey for Thanksgiving, you’d better start now.

Gulfport Fire Chief Billy Kelley wants to make sure you and your family are cooking with grease safely on Turkey Day.

“When you put these turkeys in there, and they’re frozen, once it hits that boiling point, it expands in steam 1,700 times, so that’s why it rushes to the top and flares up like that,” Chief Kelley says.

Chief Kelley recommends cooking your turkey on even ground, concrete or asphalt preferably, 10 to 15 feet from a house.

“Because it will flare up on you,” Chief Kelley says. “And in case it does, you don’t want to be by a structure.”

Because there’s a high chance of rain on Thursday, you should have a backup plan in case you can’t cook outdoors.

“If it’s raining, you may want to look into getting an electric smoker or an electric fryer for a turkey, but we definitely don’t want to do it inside or on decks or balconies or anything like that,” Chief Kelley says.

But grease fires shouldn’t be your only concern when cooking; make sure to stay aware of anything cooking in the oven or on the stove.

“There’s a lot of kids running around, they’re excited over the holidays... Keep them away from hot surfaces,” Chief Kelley says.

And if you’re planning to cook overnight, make sure to check your smoke detectors. If you’re in need, the Gulfport Fire Department has a program where they give out smoke detectors and provide crews to come out and install them.

Keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen or nearby is also a good idea. The chief also says... if a grease fire does start, call 911 immediately and don’t try putting it out with water. That could only make the fire worse.

“Be safe with it. We don’t want anybody to ruin their Thanksgiving,” Chief Kelley says.

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