December 6, 2022

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires

Turkey fryer fire demonstration

Turkey fryer fire demonstration

Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home* fires and home fire injuries.

Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fire started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

Facts & figures

  • Cooking equipment fires are the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries.┬áThese fires accounted for 40% of all reported home structure fires and 36% of home civilian injuries.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in two of every five (41%) reported home fires.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires.
  • Ranges accounted for the largest share (59%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
  • Three of every five (59%) reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.

NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. These turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.

Propane-fired turkey fryers are designed for outdoor use, particularly for Thanksgiving, by which time both rain and snow are common in many parts of the country. If rain or snow strikes exposed hot cooking oil, the result can be a splattering of the hot oil or a conversion of the rain or snow to steam, either of which can lead to burns. Use of propane-fired turkey fryers indoors to avoid bad weather is contrary to their design and dangerous in its own right. Also, moving an operating turkey fryer indoors to escape bad weather is extremely risky. Fires have occurred when turkey fryers were used in a garage or barn or under eaves to keep the appliance out of the rain.

NFPA continues to believe that turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer. Consumers may find packaging of turkey fryers displaying independent product safety testing labels. NFPA is familiar with the details of these test standards and does not believe that they are sufficiently comprehensive regarding the different ways in which serious harm can occur, and, in some cases, regarding the different parts of the turkey fryer that need to be tested.

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