News release text
A Tunbridge Wells woman had a lucky escape after fire broke out in her home late on Friday evening (4 April).
The resident was heating some oil in a chip pan on the hob in a basement flat in Montacute Gardens at 11.20pm and had forgotten about it, causing the oil to overheat and ignite. Fortunately she discovered the blaze and phoned 999.
Two fire engines were sent to the property and Tunbridge Wells Crew Manager, Matt Crush, said: “The woman had tried unsuccessfully to smother the fire using tea towels but my advice would be, don’t take risks, if a fire has started, get out of your home, close the doors as you leave and call the fire service for help.”
Firefighters in breathing apparatus used a hose reel to tackle the blaze which had spread to an extractor fan and kitchen wall units. Crews also used a special fan to clear the thick, black smoke and ventilate the flat.
Matt added: “Unfortunately, the smoke alarms in the property didn’t activate because the batteries had been removed, something I would strongly urge against. A smoke alarm really could save your life by giving you those precious few minutes of warning allowing you to get out safely but only if they are working and maintained correctly.”
Follow these tips to help prevent a cooking fire in your home:
Always stand by your pan – if you leave the room, turn the heat off
Never throw water on a chip pan fire. If the oil has overheated; turn the heat off if it’s safe to do so, cover it with a lid and leave to cool down
Never fill a pan more than one-third full of oil
Don’t take risks tackling fires. Get out, stay out and get the fire service out by dialling 999
Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and test the batteries regularly.