Turkey Fryer Accident Leaves Mount Prospect Man Severely Burned

MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) —  One minute, a Mount Prospect man was cooking a turkey. The next, his leg was burning in bubbling, hot oil.

A thick wrapping of bandages covers the surface where hot oil burned its way through Serafino Alfe’s leg. It runs from his knee all the way to his ankle and the top of his foot.

“I got  a little careless and caused an accident,” the 86-year-old told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones. “That’s what accidents are. You’ve got to be very, very careful.”

Earlier this month, Alfe was helping to cook 25 turkeys in fryers for a memorial golf event to honor a late friend. He tripped over an electrical cord, and a fryer fell over, sloshing 350-degree oil all over the place.

Alfe tried to run away from the spill but got hit with some of oil.

“It’s just like putting me into a broiler, that’s what happened. It was bad,” Alfe said Monday from his bed at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

After he removed clothing to inspect his leg, Alfe says he didn’t feel as if he was seriously hurt. But paramedics who inspected his wounds told him he needed to go to the hospital, he said.

Dr. Richard Gamelli, director of Loyola’s burn unit, says the savory food everyone is cooking this season makes it easy to forget the danger of the heat.

“If it’s hot enough to cook food — the grease — obviously, your tissue is going to do the same thing,” he says.

He says cooks who are preparing turkeys in fryers should always keep the cooking devices in full view while they’re on. He says they should also wear clothes that cover any bare skin.

If you get burned, go to the doctor, Gamelli says.

Alfe and his wife will spend Thanksgiving in the hospital — thankful his injuries aren’t worse.

He’ll go into surgery Friday morning for skin grafts. It could be three months before he’s able to move around freely again and up to a year for the scars to fully heal, Gamelli says.

High-profile warnings about turkey fryers have been hitting the media this season, most notably a video clip from State Farm insurance featuring William Shatner.

In the clip, Shatner, who himself was burned and nearly set his house on fire with a turkey fryer, melodramatically recalls his harrowing experience. The video goes on to list several safety tips, and shows how easily a fire can result from mistakes.

  • It's not worth it

    Put the turkey in the oven and nobody will get hurt.

    • macs1

      Okay, that sounded like a hold up…

  • Fact Giver

    And also never put a frozen turkey in. Has to be thawed.

    • Roberta Waker

      You’re absolutely right. Before using something that can be so dangerous; it’s always best to fully read the directions and precautions and to follow them to the letter. Also, don’t EVER put oil past the full line.

  • Jim Hamilton

    In Their list they left out: Never put your fryer on a piece of cardboard as the edges create a trip hazzard and you may fall into the fryer and end up with two fried turkeys. Who wants a leg?

  • Just Order Out Or Get The Bad Bird

    The Police are out in force this holiday season, on the look out for drunk, tripping, dumb ass turkey fowlers.

  • When Turkeys Attack....

    … BAKE THEM!!!!!.

  • dan

    Thank God he didn’t fall head first into the fryer

  • Vicky Kujawa

    EIGHTY-SIX?!?!?!? Don’t leave grandpa alone with the turkey fryer D’OH!!!!!

    • Grow up and get some respect

      Uhm, just because someone is 86 doesn’t mean they’re not capable of cooking and doing other things for themselves. Accidents happen no matter how old you are.

  • Roberta Waker

    We deep fry turkeys often in the summer and always exercise precautions. Follow the directions to NOT cook them frozen; put the fryer on a solid table with plenty of room for the lid and to place the turkey when you remove it; make sure all electrical cords are well out of the way to avoid tripping over it; remove the turkey carefully after you use oven gloves to lift it from the fryer with the hook and let the hot fat drain; unplug it when done and you should be able to enjoy a delicious tasting turkey. Of course, we use an electric turkey fryer which has better control of temperature; the gas operated ones are too hard to control and much more dangerous to use. They also sell infra red ones that don’t use any oil at all. Still prefer the stuffed oven cooked turkey for Thanksgiving as it is much safer than deep frying in the winter; plus stuffed turkey is a tradition in our family. Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Geoffrey Seymour

    I think people have missed the cause of the accident, he tripped on an electrical cord – you have to watch where these things breed.

    • Jim Hamilton

      This article got changed the original article stated he tripped on cardboard that he had under his fryer and it gave a list of hazzards to watch out for

  • Jessica

    Regardless of whether or not he tripped, it’s dangerous to do indoors. Personally, I dont think I would like a deep fried turkey. Just sounds gross to me! To each their own. I’m just glad he is okay and only got his leg and not his face. Healing might have been longer and more painful. Speedy recovery!

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