Turkey causes St. Pete house fire, how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this Thanksgiving

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – “I was crying so loud until my mom came and I gave her a hug,” said 8-year-old Khilah Morris recalling Tuesday’s turkey fire at their St. Petersburg home.

Morris said she was terrified for her family when their house caught fire as they were getting ready for Thanksgiving. Black singe marks and the smell of smoke were still lingering.

“I started crying, almost had a heart attack because I thought my bunny was going to die,” said Ariayah Morris. Ariayah’s parents and four siblings made it out of the house but Oreo the bunny was trapped. Thankfully, the St. Pete Fire Department saved the day.

“That was a nice save,” said Lt. Steven Lawrence with St. Pete Fire Rescue.

But Lt. Steve Lawrence said the scare was likely avoidable. “Anytime you’re grilling, smoking, or deep-frying for a turkey during the holidays, just make sure you’re away from the house.”

Lt. Lawrence wants to remind families to keep all outside cooking appliances 10 feet from the house, avoid using too much oil since it’s flammable, never leave food cooking without someone watching, be sure to turn your stovetop pot and pan handles toward the counter so kids can’t grab them and make sure the turkey is fully thawed.

8 On Your Side asked what would happen if a turkey isn’t fully thawed before cooking.

“It creates a large fireball,” said Lt. Lawrence. He continued, “If it still has a lot of moisture on it, oil and water don’t mix so it will create a larger displacement of the hot oil.”

Lt. Lawrence said in case a fire does start while cooking outside, keep a garden hose handy. If you’re inside, have a fire extinguisher nearby. Finally, keep your phone close to call 911.

Watch the St.Pete Fire Thanksgiving PSA video that takes less than 2-minutes here.

For more information on Fire Safety visit the St. Petersburg Fire Rescue website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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