GREENSBORO, NC – Generators, space heaters and turkey fryers, oh my! Yes, these are some of the usual suspects that cause big problems every year.

David Douglas, former Greensboro Fire Marshall, gave 2WTK the 101 on all of these issues.


Even if you've seen the video of a turkey fryer going up in flames, it's still mesmerizing and scary. Usually you just see the aftermath. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 166,100 home fires per year involving cooking equipment. Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment with 4 times the average number.

“They overfill the fryer. You need to fill the fryer only to the water line. When the fryer is overfilled and they put the turkey in, the oil spills over and ignites a flame.”

Douglas says the second big issue is people put in a frozen turkey or a wet turkey. Make sure you pat down the turkey and make it dry.
When a frozen or wet turkey goes into hot oil, it steams and boils over.

What happens if it starts drizzling and you want to take cover WHILE you’re frying?!?! This is a big no-no. The fire you saw in the video then just ignited your house.


Space heaters are most commonly involved in home heating equipment fires--- they account for 40%. But they account for 84% of deaths.

“People just put them in the wrong place. They put them too close to things like furniture, bedding or curtains.”


Extension cords account for 57% of all electrical fires. Make sure you look for the sticker that shows the cord is UL approved. Never piggy back multi-plug adapters from an extension cord. And never place extension cords under carpeting or in door openings.


This is the thing about generators, they need to be outside. It's loud and it isn't supposed to be wet or have it snow on it.Here's the thing, you should put it under some kind of shelter but not all shelters are created equal so for example this open porch.

“A garage that is hooked to the house is not a good idea. It's deadly."A lot of folks are worried about it getting stolen and keep it in their garage for some time and then will put it out when it's light outside.

“You can't do that. That's the thing. And I've seen people bring their grills inside the house too that can kill you as well.”


Just like the space heater, you don’t want your Christmas tree near anything that is combustible. So, not near the fireplace and not near the drapes. You need to have it at least three feet.