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Local Fire Officials Offer Tips To Keep Your Thanksgiving From Going Up In Flames

Fire Chief Chip Lillie (credit: Michelle Durham)

Fire Chief Chip Lillie (credit: Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
She's reported from inside a burning building, from the flight deck of...
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By Michelle Durham

The Thanksgiving holiday is a joyous one, but it can also be a dangerous one.

State Farm Insurance has studied the number of fires reported in the Keystone state over the past seven years, and Pennsylvania is number three in the country for grease and related cooking fires on Thanksgiving.

This statistic worries Delaware County Middletown Fire Company Chief Chip Lillie, who says people underestimate the power of five gallons of heated peanut oil — used to fry turkeys — especially if it is not fully thawed.

“It’ll light up on you. It will splash out and burn you,” Lillie says. “Splash out over the sides and ignite whatever it’s on. A lot of people do this on their decks.”

Which is not a good idea — and Chief John Leadbeater of the Wissahickon Fire Company — wants to make sure everyone remembers about the items on their stove.

“Fire doubles in size every minute,” Leadbeater says. “And one of the leading causes of injuries is that people decide to fight the fire themselves, so then there is that delay for us.”

Fire Chief John Leadbeater (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Fire Chief John Leadbeater (credit: Michelle Durham)

Which makes the fire larger and tougher to fight.

“We’d love to come to everyone’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner,” Lillie says, “but we don’t want to have to work for it.”

But both say they are ready to help if needed.

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