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Officials blame turkey fryer for GF carport fire

The fire that ate away the carport attached to David and Ann Sande's Grand Forks home Sunday started because of a turkey fryer, according to Fire Marshal Terry Wynne.

The fire that ate away the carport attached to David and Ann Sande's Grand Forks home Sunday started because of a turkey fryer, according to Fire Marshal Terry Wynne.

Wynne said the fire at 1110 Belmont Road about 7:30 p.m. Sunday is being classified as "an unsupervised cooking fire" and was accidental in nature.

The Sandes had a family gathering Sunday and cooked a beef roast in the fryer before the fire, according to Ann Sande, who served from 1996 to 1998 as chairwoman of the City Council's public safety committee.

"After we took everything out, they (her sons) believed they had shut it off," Sande said. She said she's never cooked in the fryer, but that her sons have used it before.

It was about 30 minutes after the family sat down for dinner that they learned the carport was on fire, she said.

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A turkey fryer basically is a big pot that holds oil, with a propane tank underneath, according to Wynne.

"It's fairly dangerous, with the hot oil and the flame underneath," he said. "The most important thing is, if people are cooking with it, to watch it."

Last year, the fryers contributed to three or four Grand Forks fires, Wynne said. "People really need to be cautious with them," he said.

Quick response

Thanks to the quick response of the Sandes, firefighters arrived quickly and were able to prevent further damage, Wynne said. Damage was estimated to be about $26,000.

In the fire Sunday, it was impossible to tell whether the oil overflowed and leaked onto the flame or if part of the turkey fryer container melted, Wynne said.

The pot that was part of the fryer "was really a lightweight aluminum pot," she said. "It was about 24 inches tall, and now it's about 10 inches. It came apart and fell on itself."

Sande said that if she ever cooks with a turkey fryer again, she'll definitely be investing in a sturdier pot.

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Reach Nadeau at (701) 780-1118; (800) 477-6572, ext. 118; or send e-mail to snadeau@gfherald.com .

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