Kent Fire & Rescue Service
Fire crews urge caution while cooking after student kitchen fire

Fire crews urge caution while cooking after student kitchen fire

2 January 2015

Firefighters are urging people to never leave cooking unattended, after a kitchen fire in student accommodation in Canterbury last night (Thursday 1 January).  

Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to a four storey building on Giles Lane at 23.19 and within six minutes were tackling the fire in a first floor kitchen.

Canterbury Fire Station Watch Manager, Sheridan Hudson-Peacock said: "When we arrived we found a large kitchen well alight. Luckily all people in the building had been evacuated safely which allowed us to get in and start tackling the fire quickly. We were able to contain the blaze to the kitchen, however the fire caused extensive damage and the kitchen is now unusable."

On this occasion a student had left his cooking to make a telephone call. Firefighters gave the students in the accommodation home fire safety advice, which included guidance about the dangers of leaving cooking unattended.

Watch Manager, Sheridan Hudson-Peacock added: "We would like to take this opportunity to remind people of the dangers associated with unattended cooking. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. We always encourage people to switch off any heat sources if they need to leave the kitchen for any length of time. It is important to remember – fires start when your attention stops."

For many young people, living in student accommodation is their first experience of life away from the family home. It is crucial to be aware of fire safety.

Watch Manager Hudson-Peacock said: "If anyone experiences a fire in student accommodation, whilst it is tempting to try to deal with the fire yourself, please avoid putting your life and the lives of those living with you at risk. Our best advice is to get out of the property as quickly as possible and to call the fire service."

For students living in halls of residence or in rented accommodation, Watch Manager Hudson-Peacock has these fire safety tips and advice.


  • If you leave the room, take pans off the heat – never leave cooking unattended.
  • Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol, especially late at night.

Escape routes

  • Know your escape routes – the quickest way out in the event of a fire.

  • Keep escape routes clear of clutter.

  • Make sure everyone knows where window and door keys are kept.

  • If a fire starts, don’t tackle it yourself, get out, stay out and call 999.

Heating and electrics

  • Don’t overload plug sockets.

  • Switch off electrical equipment, i.e. hair straighteners, hair dryers and mobile phone chargers when not in use.

  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furnishings and never dry clothes on them.

Living in halls of residence 

  • All universities and colleges have a person responsible for fire safety - if you've spotted a fire risk or have concerns, speak to them.

  • Check what the fire safety rules are - there may be a ban on candles in rooms for example.

  • Pay attention to fire drills and never ignore alarms.

Top tip

  • If you are living in rented accommodation, make sure it's fitted with smoke alarms on each level and that you test them regularly.

  • Do not obstruct fire routes or doors

  • Keep fire doors closed

  • Landlords are not necessarily obliged to fit smoke alarms.

  • If you need to obtain one yourself, they are cheap and easy to fit and make a great house gift.

  • Know your rights!

In all properties, the landlord must:

  • Ensure gas appliances are installed and serviced every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

  • Provide all new and existing tenants with a copy of the safety check record.

  • Maintain wiring and all electrical appliances they provide to ensure they are safe to use.

  • Make sure any furniture and furnishings they provide meet the fire resistance regulations.


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