Firefighters are warning residents to be extra careful in the kitchen following two fires yesterday evening (9 June) involving unattended chip pans.
Crews were called at 10.54pm to a flat in Towers View, Kennington, Ashford after a smoke alarm alerted a family to a blaze in their kitchen.
A mother was given oxygen therapy for the affects of breathing in smoke after trying to tackle a blaze herself and two children were also checked over .
Two fire engines were sent to the incident and crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to contain the fire to the kitchen of the property, which was severely damaged. A positive pressure fan was used to clear smoke from the flat.
This incident follows a similar fire at a house in Swanley earlier in the evening at 6.28pm, which also involved an unattended chip pan.
The pan is thought to have caught fire and spread to the oven, wall units and ceiling of a kitchen. Fortunately, an off-duty firefighter from London Fire Brigade was able to put out the blaze before the fire crews arrived.
Crews used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear smoke from the property and a thermal imaging camera to check the fire was fully out.
Community safety manager Charlie Smith said: “It is believed that distraction played a major part in both of these fires. It is so easy to get diverted and walk away from your cooking, but as these incidents highlight, kitchen fires can be devastating, putting you and your family at risk and causing damage to your home.
“I would urge residents to take extra care not to leave cooking unattended, and opt for a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer or oven chips instead of using an open pan, as hot oil can overheat and ignite very easily, resulting in a fire that can spread extremely quickly.
"If you must use a chip plan please follow our chip pan safety advice and in the event of a fire involving oil, never attempt to put it out with water. The advice is to turn off the heat if it is safe to do so, get you and your family out of the property immediately, closing the doors behind you, and call 999.”
He added: “It is also vital to have a working smoke alarm fitted on each floor of you home to provide early warning in the event of a fire.”
For further safety advice visit www.kent.fire-uk.org or call 0800 923 7000.