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ACFD: Distracted Cooking Is Top Thanksgiving Fire Hazard

by ARLnow.com November 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm 4,117 10 Comments

Normally around this time of year, readers and watchers of local news are bombarded with warnings about the dangers of turkey fryers. Those dangers still exist — see below — but the Arlington County Fire Department says there’s another Thanksgiving danger that often goes un-publicized: distracted cooking.

“Burnt food or food on the stove calls are more frequent than turkey fryer incidents,” ACFD spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl told ARLnow.com. “Distracted cooking is hazardous.”

Distracted cooking leads to almost daily fire-related calls to houses and apartment buildings in Arlington. Most food-on-the-stove calls just result in lots of smoke or minor fires that are quickly extinguished, but some can lead to full-scale fires.

The department offered the following cooking safety tips for the holidays and beyond.

Don’t be distracted while cooking. Guests and other distractions can take your attention from cooking which could result in a fire or injury. Don’t leave any cooking unattended.

Wear short sleeves or fitted sleeves. Loose fitting sleeves can contact heat sources and catch fire.

Turn pot and pan handles away from the stoves edge to prevent burns and scalds.

If you are going to fry a turkey follow all recommendations by the manufacturer for the fryer. Do not use the fryer on a deck or close to a residence.

Have a “kid free zone” 3 feet around the stove or areas where cooking is being done. Keeping the children away will help prevent burn and scald injuries.

On the inevitable topic of turkey fryers, Karl cautioned against a new indoor turkey fryer that seems safer than the traditional kind, but which is susceptible to the same fire hazards.

Karl said the popular Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer, seen in the video below, can still cause a fire if overfilled with oil.

“We do not believe they are any more or less hazardous than a regular deep fat fryer,” he said. “The same risks still exist frying a turkey indoors or outdoors. We ask people read the manufacturers recommendations and be certain the turkey is completely thawed before frying.”

“We wish everybody a safe Thanksgiving,” Karl added.

  • 7-11-bum

    Safety Tip #6: Do NOT let drunk uncle Larry supervise deep fryer.

  • Arlingtonian

    That paper turkey in the picture looks mad as hell that it’s Thanksgiving

  • SomeGuy

    Don’t mind him. He’s had that exact same look for a year.

  • Dezlboy

    FWIW…a lady in my Mom’s mid-rise condo forgot about a tea kettle, and ensuring fire destroyed about 20 units. So, do be careful.

    BTW…..she is selling her unit and not moving back. 🙂

    • SomeGuy

      I like talking about people’s moms.

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  • John Fontain

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  • LegalEagle

    Looks like good engineering for the most part, but people are idiots and can’t be trusted to have good judgement. This electric fryer will be the source of several fires this seasons.

    Mark my words — this product will not be on the market by this time next year… which is too bad — fried Turkey is the best!

  • Sam the Cat

    Thanksgiving should be made illegal. Too many people burn their houses down.

  • Jermaine

    Nothing says Thanksgiving like a Michael Jackson special.


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