Setting your house on fire is one sure way for your Thanksgiving to end up a turkey.
The State Farm insurance company says that in the past five years it has received more than 160 damage claims related to Thanksgiving cooking accidents.
Of the 10 states with the most claims, Texas ranks first, with 33, while Illinois and Ohio round out the top 3, with 22 and 18, respectively.
State Farm says more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day and are more than double that of the average November day.
Frying, deep-frying in particular, is more dangerous than other types of cooking, adds the National Fire Protection Association.
The agency said that the 57 civilian injuries per 1,000 reported home fires involving deep fryers from 2003 to 2006 were almost twice the rate of 31 injuries per 1,000 homes fires involving all types of cooking equipment combined.
And the average direct property loss of $14,500 per reported deep-fryer fire was almost three times the average of $5,000 for cooking fires in general.
State Farm lists common mistakes of using turkey fryers:
- Too much oil. When the turkey is lowered into an overfilled pot, the oil may spill, hit the burner and ignite. The owner's manual lists the proper amount of oil to use.
- Fryer is too close to structures. Cook outdoors, away from flammables; maintain a safe distance from buildings and keep the fryer off anything wooden.
- Oil and water don't mix. When ice comes into contact with hot oil, the water vaporizes, causing steam bubbles to pop and spray hot oil. So don't fry a frozen turkey or use ice or water to cool oil or extinguish an oil fire. Use an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires and call 911.
- Unattended cooking. Many fryers don't have thermostats, so the oil can continue to heat to combustion.