Think Before You Fry

Nov 18, 2022 | Allen A. Ritchie

Alabama man at Thanksgiving. What could go wrong?

A deep-fried turkey is just plain good. I mean, it beats your grandma’s baked version. But Granny lived to be in her 90s, and a deep-fried turkey could end your life this coming Thursday.

Think I’m kidding? Each year in the U.S., deep fryers cause roughly 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and the destruction of 900 homes (yes, I said 900). This is all according to the National Fire Protection Association, and they are folk who take burning down a house seriously. Don’t think it is true? Ask your relatives this Thanksgiving how many have NOT seen one of those fires on the evening news. I bet you no hands go up.

Do you want to guess the top 5 states with deep-fried turkey explosions and fires?

First is Texas – ok, it is a big state, so that is understandable. Followed by Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Then it comes south to South Carolina and Georgia. Thought Alabama would be on the deep-fried list, didn’t you? Why? ‘Cause sometimes we do stupid things. But not this time.

If you only remember a few tips (and want to keep us off the national list), remember these:

  • Totally defrost the bird. Folks take the turkey out of the fridge/freezer days, and I mean DAYS before Thanksgiving.
  • Fry it outside, away from any wooden structure.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

And one last thing, don’t drink and fry. There is a reason you think of the turkey cook holding a beer just before the explosion.

State Farm has a hilarious video with the guys from Duck Dynasty. Before you attempt the turkey drop, I suggest you take a look.


I help injured people every day, but I cannot fix stupid. I mean, I can, but it is so much more difficult. My advice this holiday is: eat fried, don’t be foolish, and live to see Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving. We are in a great country with a lot to be thankful for.

Join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We are taking a fall break and will offer 5-minute segments for the rest of the year and a live call-in segment every Monday on NBC 15 at around lunchtime. You can also call the Eiland & Ritchie offices at (251) 666-1212. We specifically set aside a few hours Monday morning to answer your questions.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer