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Article updated: 11/22/2012 4:39 PM

Turkey fryer blamed for Crystal Lake garage fire

By Bob Susnjara

No injuries were reported from a garage fire believed to have been caused by the deep frying of a turkey Thursday, according to the Crystal Lake Fire Department.

Battalion Chief William Whyte said firefighters were summoned to a house in the 700 block of Windsor Drive at 12:03 p.m. He said the fire occurred in an attached, two-car garage.

With smoke and flames were coming from the garage, said Whyte, the first unit on the scene attacked the fire defensively from the exterior. He said the firefighters then went inside the garage to bring the flames under control by 12:20 p.m.

Although the fire remains officially under investigation, Whyte said, it has been deemed to have been accidentally caused by the deep frying of a turkey in the garage. Damage to the garage was estimated at $80,000.

Crystal Lake sent four engines, three ambulances and a ladder truck to the blaze and received assistance from the McHenry and Woodstock fire departments. Whyte said neither the home's residents nor firefighters were injured.

Dr. Thomas Esposito of Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine offers annual turkey-frying tips. He's chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery. Esposito's safety tips include:

Keep the fryer in full view while the burner is on.

Never use in, on, or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, deck or any other structure that can catch fire.

Slowly raise and lower the turkey to reduce hot-oil splatter and avoid burns.

Don't use a hose in attempts to douse a turkey fryer fire.

Last year, Serafino Alfe of Mount Prospect suffered third-degree burns in a deep-frying accident the day before Thanksgiving. He said he used older fryers for turkeys that didn't have secure lids and about 30 quarts of hot oil poured over one of his legs.

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