Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is advising residents to check their cooking appliances are clean ahead of the festivities, to ensure their celebrations are not ruined by a kitchen fire.
This follows several kitchen fires involving cookers and grills yesterday (12 December) believed to have been caused by a build-up of grease and cooking debris.
The most serious fire was at a flat in Coombe Road, Maidstone at 5.34 am, where a build-up of grease in a cooker is thought to have ignited and spread to the kitchen. Fortunately no one was injured, however the property was heavily smoke-logged and the British Red Cross Emergency Support Unit was sent to the scene to assist the occupants. Crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the flat and rescued a cat. It was given oxygen therapy via a specialist pet oxygen mask.
Later in the day, a build-up of grease and oil in a grill is believed to be the cause of a further two fires. Crews were called to Godinton Road, Ashford at 4.26pm and put out a fire that damaged the cooker and grill. Firefighters attended a flat in Brook Court, Edenbridge at 5.11pm, and gave advice to occupants after cooking was left unattended and grease caught fire in a grill pan. Fortunately, in both cases working smoke alarms alerted occupants, giving them early warning to get out of the homes and no one was injured.
Meanwhile in Dover, a resident in Colton Crescent has their neighbour to thank for extinguishing a fire that broke out in a grill pan at around 7.50pm, which was accidently left switched on after cooking. Fortunately, the only cooker was slightly damaged, and there was a small amount of smoke logging, however the situation could have been much more serious , as there were no working smoke alarms in the property. Firefighters gave the occupants fire safety advice and fitted smoke alarms.
KFRS community safety manager Charlie Smith said: “As families get together to enjoy the festivities, we are reminding residents of the simple steps they can take to make sure their celebrations aren’t ruined by a devastating fire.
“The Christmas holidays can be very hectic, but we are urging people to make sure their cookers and grills are cleaned regularly to avoid a kitchen fire that could put your family and your home at risk. It’s easy to get distracted while cooking at this time of year, and leave cooking unattended, especially if you are celebrating with an alcoholic beverage, so please take extra care and remember that cooking and drinking do not mix.”
“To keep your family and guests safe, we advise you to make sure you have working smoke alarms fitted on each floor of your home and to make sure everyone knows how to escape from your property in the unfortunate event of a fire.”
For further home fire safety advice and information about the free services KFRS provides call the home safety team 0800 923 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.