Mikayla Tenyue and her family with Rochester fire station leader Paul Nash
A mother from Gillingham has vowed to ditch her chip pan after a fire broke out in the kitchen of her Gillingham flat last week (26 September).
30-year-old Mikayla Tenyue and her two daughters, 11 and 2, had just finished their tea-time snack at their first-floor flat in Balmoral Road, Gillingham, when they noticed smoke coming from the kitchen and heard the smoke alarms sounding.
Mikayla said: “When I heard the smoke alarms I immediately went in to the kitchen and realised that a pan of oil that I had been cooking chips in was alight. I quickly grabbed a fire blanket, which I have never had to use before, and tried to contain the fire. I then got the kids and quickly left the flat, and went down to the flat below to alert my neighbours, and got them out too, as I was worried that the fire might spread.”
After calling 999, the two families stayed outside of the property until the fire crews arrived. Two fire engines attended and fire crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the flat to ensure the fire was fully out using a thermal imaging camera and a hose reel, and cleared some light smoke logging from the property.
Mikayla added: “I am pretty certain I turned off the heat, but as the hob is electric, it must have stayed hot for longer than I realised and the oil overheated, starting the fire. One of the firefighters suggested that I get a deep fat fryer instead of using a pan of oil. It was the first time, and certainly the last, that I will ever cook chips this way.”
Rochester station leader, Paul Nash, said: “Fortunately, there was very little damage caused by the fire, and only light smoke logging. We did advise the occupant that she was extremely lucky not to have got injured while trying to put out the fire herself, however I commend her swift actions in getting herself and her family out safety and staying out, as well as alerting the neighbours.
“This incident clearly highlights how important it is to have working smoke alarms fitted in your home and also know to get out of your property as soon as possible. We recommend that residents consider switching to a safer method of cooking chips such as a thermostatically-controlled deep fat fryer or opt for oven chips instead.”
The family were invited this week to the fire station to be reunited with the crew. Speaking of her visit Mikayla said: "My girls loved it at the fire station and my eldest is really encouraging me now to consider a career in firefighting."
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has started to see a slight increase in the number of kitchen fires in recent weeks in the Gillinham area.
Crews attended a fire in another home in Balmoral Road in Gillingham on 22 September, thought to have started accidently after cooking had been left unattended on the hob. Luckily for the residents, they were alerted by their smoke alarm and were able to safely evacuate from the house without injury. A further kitchen fire broke out at a flat Britton Street, Gillingham on last night (3 October), again caused by unattended cooking.
For further safety advice visit: http://www.kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/home-safety/