News release text
While the weekend weather might not have reached much of a temperature, a series of kitchen fires in Kent has turned up the heat for firefighters, leading to a countywide warning for the public to take care with cooking.
There were five kitchen fires yesterday (in Maidstone, Ashford, Gravesend and Chatham), with three occurring within minutes of each other during the early hours of Sunday morning.
At 3.14am, a fire engine from Ashford was sent to Cornes Close in Willesborough after a man fell asleep while cooking sausages. He escaped uninjured and the crew used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the property of smoke.
A few minutes later at 3.34am, crews in Gravesend were in action after a grill was accidentally turned on in a Winters Croft home, setting light to some food deposits on the grill element although when two fire appliances arrived, the fire was out.
This incident was followed by another in the Gravesend area just four minutes later at 3.38am when Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s control room operators received calls to an alarm sounding in a Parrock Street home. Three fire engines were sent to the scene where they found a man in his 20s had fallen asleep after putting a shallow pan of oil on the hob to cook chips. Crews again used a specialist fan to clear the property of smoke logging.
Firefighters were also in action in Chatham later in the day at 1.39pm when a woman in her 70s left a tea towel on top of the hob and it caught light, causing a small fire. Two fire engines were sent to the home in Maida Road, Luton, and gave the woman oxygen for smoke inhalation before leaving her in the care of an ambulance crew.
The day of kitchen disasters concluded with another fire at 7.07pm in Roseholme, Maidstone when KFRS was called about a small fire in a cooker although the blaze was out before crews arrived.
KFRS Head of Community Safety, Stuart Skilton said: “These incidents demonstrate that care in the kitchen is vital and a fire can break out so easily. Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt in any of these callouts but the outcomes could easily have been tragic, especially those in the early hours when people had fallen asleep after turning their ovens and hobs on.
“No doubt these residents will be tidying up today and we hope that others learn from this and take greater care in the kitchen.”
Key safety tips include:
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.