News release text
“Watch what you heat and never leave cooking unattended” - that’s the message from Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) after four calls to kitchen fires across the county yesterday (Wednesday 5 June).
The first incident was at 1.43pm when KFRS received a 999 call to Harold Road, Margate. Two fire engines were sent to the property after the smoke alarm was set off. The occupier was talking on the phone and had left food cooking. The crews were stood down on route after the resident confirmed there was not a fire.
Less than 20 minutes later, a neighbour heard the smoke alarm sounding and saw smoke in a Cliftonville flat. Crews arrived at Lewis Crescent within three minutes and had to force entry as the resident was out at the time. Firefighters quickly extinguished the small fire, which was limited to the cooker.
KFRS Risk Reduction Manager, Sheridan Hudson-Peacock, said: “Leaving any cooking unattended, even for a few minutes is a recipe for disaster and could quickly escalate into a serious fire.”
Following these incidents, two fire engines were sent to a semi-detached house in Lodge Oak Road, Tonbridge at 5.45pm. The fire was out when firefighters arrived but sill caused damage to the oven and kitchen units. Crews used a thermal imaging camera to check for fire spread and cleared smoke from the property using a positive pressure ventilation fan. The oven and a built-in cupboard were damaged and there was heat and smoke damage in the kitchen.
Watch Manager, John Allwright said: “The couple were cooking a roast dinner but there was too much fat in the roasting tin, which ignited. The woman threw water on it making it worse.
“Never put water onto hot oil, it heats up, expands, turns to steam and rises in a big steam cloud. Each particle of steam is coated in burning oil and if you are near it you will be badly burned. It can also create a burst of flames.
Later the same evening at 9.23pm Sevenoaks and Westerham firefighters went to a first floor flat in Ide Hill, Sevenoaks. Once again crews had to force entry to the flat and extinguished the small blaze, thought to have been caused by a chip pan left on an electric hob. The pan and its contents were destroyed by fire but fortunately, there was no rapid fire growth and there was only light smoke damage. Firefighters gave safety advice to neighbouring properties.
John added: “Unattended pans and a build up of fat and food residue on cooking appliances are common causes of fires that can have serious consequences. If you leave the kitchen, turn the heat off, fire starts when your attention stops.”
KFRS offers free safety advice to everyone - visit www.3breaths.info or contact the KFRS community safety team on 0800 923 7000.