SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — For the Thanksgiving holiday, Sacramento Metro Fire has a few safety tips when it comes to deep-frying turkeys. 

A video shared on Metro Fire’s Twitter account shows a demonstration of what can happen when someone unsafely places a frozen turkey into a pot of hot oil.  

According to the tweet, the following tips from Metro Fire include: 

  • Have an emergency plan beforehand
  • Create a safe outdoor workspace away from combustibles
  • Completely thaw the turkey
  • Don’t overfill the pot with oil beyond the max fill line
  • Turn off the heat source before slowly lowering the turkey
  • Pay attention, keep kids and pets far away

Dangers of deep frying a turkey

On the Cosumnes Community Service District website, the Cosumnes Fire Department, which serves Elk Grove and Galt, warns about the risk of turkeys cooking with a deep-fat fryer.

Officials said deep-frying a turkey can be dangerous, as they have a “high risk of tipping over, overheating, spilling hot oil, and could lead to fires, burns, or other injuries.”

If a fire occurs, officials say to call 911 immediately. 

Officials advise against using a turkey fryer, but for those who make the choice should use the following precautions: 

  • Do not overfill the fryer
  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials
  • Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer
  • Never leave the fryer unattended because, without thermostat controls, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage, or enclosed space
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter. 

Why do frozen turkeys explode when deep-fried? 

Thawing your turkey before cooking in it a deep fryer is recommended, as frozen turkeys are filled with water and could potentially cause an explosive fire. 

According to PBS, the reason for frozen turkeys explode has to do with the differences in density between oil and water. There’s also a difference in the density of water between its solid, liquid, and gas states. 

An explosion can occur when the three density differences interact the right way.