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November 28, 2003
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Although this is not well known in many areas, it is popular in Minnesota to deep-fry turkeys for Thanksgiving; the process seals in moisture and cooks the bird rather quickly. However, it is not without its dangers, and it seems that every year brings stories like this:

Bill Fickett wanted to give his wife a break from the kitchen on Thanksgiving, so he offered to cook the turkey. His gesture ended up setting their garage on fire and causing about $14,000 in damage. ... Fickett was heating up about 3 gallons of oil for the turkey right before the fire started. He adjusted the temperature to the recommended 350 degrees, then stepped into the house to get the bird.

Smoke was pouring out of the garage when they came back.

When St. Cloud firefighters arrived about 2:15 p.m., the garage was in flames, said Gene Kostreba, acting assistant fire chief. The fire was contained to the garage, which was not attached to the house.

Fortunately, the Ficketts only lost the garage and its contents (no car was inside at the time), and not the house or anyone's life, and no one was hurt. But it underscores the danger of this process. If you are going to deep-fry your bird, you can't walk away, and you had better be clear of any structures when you cook. Bill Fickett has a better idea:

"I'll probably stick to baking them now.''
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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 28, 2003 8:47 AM

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