There are a few ground rules to safety frying a turkey, and yet every year there are fires that destroy buildings and houses. The problem as gotten so bad that Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) has refused to certify turkey fryers. The reason is that most people just don’t follow the safety rules. Let me illustrate with a few examples.
Choose the Right Location
First of all, do not use your turkey fryer on a wooden deck, in your garage, near a wooden structure, under the eves of any building, or anywhere near a nitrous tank. Sound reasonable? Well, that's just what one family in Nebraska did. They had removed the turkey from the fryer and left it unattended, not realizing that still hot, means still dangerous. The neighbor had to come over to tell them that their garage was on fire and a nitrous tank they kept in one of their vehicles exploded just as the fire department arrived.
Get a Helping Hand
Second, never leave your turkey fryer unattended. Handling a fryer is a two person job. You need a reliable volunteer to do the running while you watch the turkey fryer. Even a few minutes could cost you $71,000 or more. There have been numerous cases in which people lost their garage and everything in it, plus a lot of damage to the house after just walking away for a couple of minutes. Just think about it for a second: several gallons of hot oil and a constant burning flame. When turkey fryers get too hot they don’t just catch fire; they can explode.
As John Drengenberg of Underwriters Laboratories described it, when the oil in one of these turkey fryers catches fire, "it's like a vertical flame thrower." That's what happened up in Minnesota when flames shot up from a turkey fryer and destroyed a $400,000 house.
Now I'm not trying to scare you away from frying turkeys. It's a great way to make an incredible meal; however, as Underwriters Laboratories has said, even careful use of a turkey fryer is not always a safe way to cook. The problem is that people just don't take the time to read the instructions and do not think about what they are doing. A turkey fryer contains several gallons of oil. At temperatures over 300 degrees Farenheight that oil becomes about as flammable as gasoline. So, read, think, then cook -- or you could be the next victim.