Safety expert warns of exploding turkeys, flaming Christmas trees

Frying turkeys, candles can ignite; wrapped presents a target for thieves

An insurance industry expert warns that while this is the holiday season and a time of cheer, danger lurks in Christmas trees, wrapped presents and turkeys cooked for festive dinners.

Kathy Mabe, president of Allstate Insurance for Western U.S. and Canada, said tragedies can include fires and thefts that can cost victims lots of money.

Holiday danger was not on the minds of people at the Witte Museum gift shop. Museum visitor Barbara Crabb was looking at jewelry

"I saw the jewelry for the granddaughters,” Crabb said.

Ron Glazener talked about the Thanksgiving meal.

"We've got different daughter-in-laws that bring specialty meals. One daughter-in-law makes pumpkin pies," Glazener said.

And Nicole Fish talked turkey.

"We just eat anything,” Fish said. “Of course we have the traditional turkey."

But Mabe warns that during the holiday season, there are dangers -- especially fire.

"In the San Antonio market, there's a 23 percent increase in fire this time of the year," Mabe said.

She said when a live Christmas tree gets too dry and catches fire, the damage can be widespread.

"When our customers experience Christmas tree losses, the average loss is in excess of $100,000 and it can certainly destroy the whole house," Mabe said.

Candles are a danger as well and so are fireplaces when combustible materials are left nearby. Heaters also pose a danger as do turkey fryers. Experts say to fry the bird outside.

"Never put a frozen turkey in a hot pot of oil,” Mabe said. “It's highly combustible. The other thing we see a lot of this year is theft and so San Antonio is not immune to that either."

She advises shoppers to keep packages out of sight of thieves.

She said a good idea is to keep the drapes closed at home if presents are under the tree.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.

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