News release text
A Tunbridge Wells mum and her two children had a lucky escape after a pan of oil which had been left on the hob caught light.
The woman returned to her kitchen to find it smoke logged with thick black smoke so took her two young daughters out of the three storey terraced property in Queens Road and called 999.
Two fire engines were sent to the scene at 6.20pm last night (Wednesday 19 June) and wore breathing apparatus to tackle the small blaze before using a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the smoke.
Watch Manager Mark Havell said: “The resident had put the pan on in preparation of cooking and discovered what had happened when she returned about 20 minutes later. She had smoke alarms but they had not activated because they were incorrectly positioned. On discovering the fire, she closed the kitchen door and got out with her children. This certainly limited the extent of the damage to the kitchen.”
Thirty per cent of the kitchen was damaged by heat and smoke but only ten per cent was damaged by fire. Mark Havell added: “This incident was a lucky escape but the occupier did all the right things by not trying to tackle the fire herself and not attempting to put herself in danger, calling 999 instead.
“It also highlights the dangers of using hot oil and leaving cooking unattended. If a blaze does break out, isolate the fire by closing doors (if it is safe to do so) and make your way to safety. It shows the importance of correctly fitted working smoke alarms as this incident could have been a lot worse if the woman had not returned to the kitchen, she could have been trapped upstairs with her children.”
Residents are advised to follow these tips to prevent fires in the kitchen:
Watch what you heat and don’t leave cooking unattended.
Turn saucepan handles so that they don’t stick out from the hob
Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil. If the oil starts to smoke, do not begin cooking - remove from the heat and leave it to cool
Keep the oven, hob and grill clean - a build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
Prevent children accidently turning on electric cookers by switching them off at the main after use
Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and test the batteries weekly
If there is a fire, don’t take risks by tackling it yourself. Get out, stay out and call the fire and rescue service.