Turkey Fryers Pose Serious Fire Dangers

Contact: Steve Holmes
(334) 241-4166


As turkey fryers that use oil become more popular, the number of turkey fryer fires has increased significantly. Many fire officials agree that the dangers associated with deep-frying a turkey aren’t worth the risk, even by a well-informed and cautious user.

  • Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
  • With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.


The Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office advises against using a turkey fryer. If you decide to do it anyway, consider these precautions. Always use fryers outdoors, on a solid level surface away from buildings and flammable materials. Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.


Do not overfill the 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. Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.


If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the gas supply off. If a fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire if the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.