RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey teamed with the Garner Fire Department on Monday to demonstrate the dangers of frying turkeys during Thanksgiving.

The live fire demonstration at Garner Fire Station 1 used a turkey that was not fully thawed.

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends for a delicious meal, but it’s easy to lose focus on fire safety,” said Causey, who is also the State Fire Marshal. “Turkey frying can be dangerous because oil fires happen quickly. Make sure to plan for fire safety especially when cooking this holiday season.”

Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires and injuries in the United States, according to a news release from Causey’s office.

The National Fire Protection Association said Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for fires caused by cooking with about 1,000 home fires occurring on this day.

Turkey fryer fires cause an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year.

Outdoor, gas-fueled turkey fryers are discouraged unless used by a properly trained professional, Causey said. Newer turkey fryers, which are powered by TRU-Infrared technology, and require no oil, are the better alternative, Causey said.

The Office of State Fire Marshal offers the following safety tips for frying turkeys this Thanksgiving:

  • Use extreme caution when cooking with oil. Hot oil can spill or splash onto the flame, igniting a fire. Also, oil inside a turkey cooker pot can stay dangerously hot for hours after use.
  • Don’t overheat the oil. Cooking oil, if heated beyond its cooking temperature (375 degrees), can ignite.
  • Turkey fryers should not be used under a garage, deck, breezeway, porch, barn or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Make sure the turkey has thawed completely before putting it in a turkey fryer. Frozen, or partially frozen turkeys, will cause hot oil to splatter or produce hot steam, which leads to burns.
  • Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.