Ashford firefighters warn of dangers of chip pans

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Ashford firefighters warn of dangers of chip pans

Posted: 14/03/2008 16:50:05

Ashford firefighters are renewing warnings of using chip pans and leaving cooking unattended after a baby boy and an 81 year old women had to be rescued in two separate incidents.

In the first incident, twelve firefighters were called to Riverview, Ashford on Friday evening after a chip pan caught alight in a first floor flat.

As the communal corridor began to fill with the smoke from the subsequent fire, crews were also alerted to the fact that a seven month old baby had been accidentally locked inside the next door flat.

Red Watch Manager Mark Thomas said: “A resident of the next door flat had come out to investigate, accidentally locking his young baby inside. The corridor was filling up with smoke so we had to smash down the door to the next door flat to get the baby out.”

Worktops and cupboards were destroyed in kitchen where the fire started, and the rest of the building suffered from substantial smoke damage.

In a separate incident, the same firefighters were called to Tadworth Road, Kennington yesterday afternoon to the second chip pan fire in a week.

Once at the scene, crews discovered a small fire in a heavily smoke -filled kitchen and an elderly women suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

The resident had dialled 999 when she heard a smoke alarm sounding and when crews arrived on the scene just minutes later they were able to limit fire damage, administer oxygen therapy to the women and help her walk, uninjured, out of the building.

The fire was believed to have started by an unattended chip pan that caught fire, creating thick plumes of smoke.

Mark, who attended both fires, said: “Both of these incidents highlight the dangers of unattended cooking and using chip pans. Had the elderly women not been alerted to the fire by the smoke alarm sounding, the consequences could have been far more serious. And in the first instance, a baby was unnecessarily put at risk because his neighbour didn’t invest in safer ways of cooking.”

“Our general advice to people that regularly use deep- fryers is to use either electric chip pans which can’t overheat and are safer to use, or instead use your oven or microwave when cooking. However, if you do use one, use it with care.”

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll help keep your kitchen safe:

• never fill a chip pan more than a third full of oil
• pat food dry first as water makes oil sizzle up, which can be dangerous
• if the oil starts to smoke don't put the food in - turn off the heat and leave it to cool
• avoid cooking with a chip pan after drinking alcohol
• don't leave the pan unattended

If you have a chip pan fire:
• call the fire and rescue service on 999 immediately
• never move the pan and never throw water over it
• turn off the heat (if you can do so safely) and allow it to cool completely

As is routine after these kinds of incidents Kent Fire and Rescue Service is offering, for free, home fire safety checks. These checks take about 30 minutes and include tips on night-time routines, cooking safely with oil or fat, the dangers of smoking materials, care with candles, electrical safety and planning escape routes in the event of fire as well as the fitting of, where necessary, a free ten-year smoke alarm. If you are interested in this free service please contact your nearest station or the Community Fire Safety Team for free on 0800 923 7000.

For more information on the importance of fire safety in the home log on to


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