Am I the Only One … who has had a Thanksgiving oven fire

By: Donna Hale Chandler

turkeyI believe I’ve already established that the kitchen holds many challenges for me.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my now-adult children enjoy remembering the year that Mom nearly burned down the house.  Of course with each passing year the story gets wilder but basically facts are facts and you can’t argue with the truth.

At the time of The Great Turkey Fire we lived in Michigan where there was already a chill in the air and our heat had been turned on in the house.  It was going to be just the four of us for Thanksgiving dinner.  As a working mom, I would often over-compensate on holidays, trying to alleviate the guilt that would, at times raise, it’s ugly head scolding me for working so many hours, etc.

Naturally I had a list of foods to prepare.  It was going to be a feast – turkey with all the trimmings – enough to feed an army.  Watching the clock as our bellies started to grumble in anticipation, I decided to peek in the oven and see if the turkey had started to brown and if the little ‘button’ had popped out, which is pretty much the only way I would know if it was ready.

As  I eased open the door, flames rushed out toward my face.  Yikes!  I jumped back, letting the oven door slam shut as I yelled, “Fire!”  The kids came running to see what was the excitement was about.  My husband never moved a muscle from his recliner in the family room.  Disasters in the kitchen were an ordinary occurrence to him and he was not about to miss a touchdown.

I tried to peek again and from what I could tell, I’d used a pan that too small for the turkey and grease has spilled over onto the bottom of the oven.  My mind swirled with what to do for a grease fire.  Water?  No.  Baking powder, baking soda, salt?  Maybe.  I grabbed a box of each, quickly opened the oven door and threw a box of each item onto the flames, AND the turkey.  I have no idea which product worked but the fire went out.

I gently took the turkey out of the oven, wiped off as much of the mess as I could, poured out what grease was still in the pan, and as the button hadn’t popped yet, I sat it right back in the powder-covered oven thinking “Well, that should prevent another fire.  I’ll clean it tomorrow (or the next day)

The end result was a happy Thanksgiving and now the children had an exciting Fire Story to tell their friends plus a memory that keeps popping out like a button on a turkey year after year.


Grams use’ta say

Old Lady 1

“The happiness in your life depends upon
the quality of your thoughts.”



1 thought on “Am I the Only One … who has had a Thanksgiving oven fire”

  1. The closest I came to that was cooking the turkey in an aluminum disposable pan. However it was very flimsy and when I picked up the pan and turkey it buckled. Nearly all of the juices spilled out into the oven. There was a lot of smoke, but no fire and a very dirty oven. Also we had very little gravy as most of the juices were gone.


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