Older style deep-fat fryers can be a real hazard in the kitchen
Firefighters are warning residents about the dangers of putting water on to chip pans fires after a blaze in Dartford last night (4 November).
A family in Francis Road heard a smoke alarm sounding and carbon monoxide detector beeping just after 9pm last night, and discovered a chip pan alight in the kitchen of their two-storey home.
The mother encouraged her three daughters to leave the property, she then called 999. She then quickly attempted to smother the fire with a dry tea-towel, however the heat caused it to catch fire too, so she then threw a bucket of water across the room towards the cooker in an attempt to douse the flames.
The water caused the fire to ‘flash over’, as watch manager John Allright explained. He said: "The occupants were extremely lucky to have escaped injury because adding water to the oil fire caused the water to instantly heat up, expand, turn to steam and rise in a big steam cloud. Each particle of steam would have been coated in burning oil and could have caused serious burns if anyone had come into contact with it.”
Fortunately the occupants, a mother and her three daughters, all got out of the property unharmed.
Two fire engines were sent to the scene and crews wearing breathing apparatus put out the remains of a shouldering fire in the kitchen, using a hose reel. They used a specialist fan to clear smoke from the house and a thermal imaging camera to check the fire was fully out. The fire caused damage to the cooker surround, cupboards and kitchen ceiling, as well as smoke logging.
Firefighters replaced the smoke alarms in the property and offered some safety advice and reassurance to the family.
Watch manger Allright said: “It is extremely easy to get distracted while cooking, however I would urge residents to take extra care not to leave cooking unattended. We would also advise families to consider getting for a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer or using 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 pan, 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: “This incident also highlights how vital it is to have a working smoke alarm fitted on each floor of you home to provide early warning in the event of a fire.”
KFRS offers a range of free advice and services to keep you and your family safe from fire in your home, speak to one of our home safety advisors by calling 0800 923 7000 (during normal office hours) or email.