Woman Injured and 3 Homes Destroyed After Suspected Turkey Frying Mishap Sparks Blaze
An attempt at deep-frying a turkey appeared to have gone horribly awry in Massachusetts on Thanksgiving, when one woman was seriously injured and three homes were destroyed after a fire burned out of control.
The incident occurred on Thursday when a turkey fryer on the back porch of a residence in New Bedford ignited and the flames spread to two homes on either side of the property, Jennifer Mieth, spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office, told the Boston Globe.
One woman in her 60s was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital for injuries, the outlet reported.
According to New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, a total of 27 people were displaced by the blaze.
"Thankfully, everybody got out safely," he said in a video shared on his Facebook.
Neighbors told CBS affiliate WBZ-TV that they heard an explosion before a fire quickly engulfed houses on either side of where it appeared to have originated.
"I smelled the smoke and then we all got scared," Sandro Semedo told the outlet.
Another neighbor said that the fire broke out after a man tried to deep-fry a turkey.
“He says he was cooking the deep-fried turkey and the propane tank exploded,” Maui Carvalho told the news station. “I heard an explosion but I thought it was thunder.”
The fire ultimately destroyed two "triple-deckers" — three-story homes that generally have one unit per story — and one single-family home, WBZ-TV reported.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in America, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, three-and half-times that of an average day, according to a report by the association.
Cooking is the leading cause of house fires and house fire injuries in America, and deep-frying turkeys — which involves dropping the meat in a vat of boiling oil — has been strongly discouraged due to the potential for oil to overheat and spill onto the ground and surrounding area, the NFPA said on its website.
"People are amateurs, myself included in that," acting New Bedford fire chief Scott Kruger told WBZ-TV on Thursday "Things don’t always go well."
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