HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — There are plenty of right ways to cook a turkey…and there are plenty of wrong ways, some of which can lead to disaster. The Harrisburg demonstrated that Thursday with a frozen turkey and a deep fryer.

This to all to warn the public to be really careful on Thanksgiving, giving them a great example of what not to do when cooking that turkey.

“The temperature of that oil was about 500 degrees,” Harrisburg fire chief Brian Enterline explained.

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Harrisburg firefighters demonstrated how fast fire can catch by dropping a frozen turkey into a pot of hot oil, creating a large plume of fire and smoke.

“That turkey was not even there a split second,” Enterline said. “We had a plume of fire 15, 18 feet in the air.”

Enterline said cooking causes most fires and the problem gets worse around the holidays.

“Over 50 percent of all fires in the commonwealth are attributed to cooking,” he said.

He said people will walk away from the stove or get distracted and not notice problems like grease.

“I’m only going to be gone five minutes, I’ll leave the stove on to keep this heating up and by the time you come back that kitchen’s on fire,” Enterline said.

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He said it only takes a few seconds for a fire to catch and spread.

“Think about that inside of your home with all the combustible materials we have, all the plastics,” he said. “You and your family would be out of a house to live.”

Enterline added these fires are preventable with some simple steps. He said to make sure you pay attention to what you’re cooking, keep kids away from anything hot, and don’t walk away from the stove.

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“Making sure you’re watching what you cook, what you heat in that kitchen will save you and save your family,” he said. “It is unfortunate that around this time, we’re supposed to be thankful and being with our family and friends, and a lot of times here in Pennsylvania it turns tragic.”