A 65-year-old man from Leek has spoken out about the chip pan fire which destroyed his kitchen at his property on Pickwood Close last weekend.
"What I will say is I will never ever use a chip pan again; I’m going to look at getting a deep fat fryer instead."
Mr Alan Bentley from Pickwood Close
Alan Bentley had turned his cooker on last Saturday night at just after 6pm to cook some chicken; however unbeknownst to him his chip pan was still plugged in and was also turned on with the oven.
Mr Bentley went back into his living room but ten minutes later smelt burning and went to investigate. He said: "I was met with thick black smoke coming from the kitchen and could hear the whoosh of flames. I stupidly tried to tackle it myself with my fire blanket and managed to burn four of my fingers.
"Then the electrics cut out, so I was plunged in pitch black darkness and surrounded by smoke. It was then that I really started to panic, as I couldn’t see or breathe and struggled to find my way out of the kitchen.
"I managed to get to my Astraline emergency cord and pulled it then just shouted ‘fire’ over and over."
Astraline immediately alerted the fire service and two fire engines from Leek Fire Station were sent to the property. Mr Bentley had made it outside on their arrival and was suffering from smoke inhalation.
He added: "It took me a while to get outside because I couldn’t find my keys and then when I did I couldn’t find the keyhole at first. I was really panicking and very frightened by this point and thought ‘this is it.’
"I couldn’t think straight and due to the burns to my fingers I was struggling to grip the keys. When I did manage to get outside, the firefighters had just arrived and went inside to deal with the fire."
The fire has destroyed Mr Bentley’s kitchen and left the property smoke damaged so he has been staying with a friend since the fire a week ago.
Mr Bentley continued: The place is a mess; it was a horrendous experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I will definitely be more careful when I’m cooking now and make sure I check appliances are turned off properly.
"I’m feeling better now, my breathing is back to normal and my burns are healing. What I will say is I will never ever use a chip pan again; I’m going to look at getting a deep fat fryer instead."
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be carrying out a free Home Fire Risk Check for Mr Bentley where they will discuss cooking safety with him as well as general fire safety in the home.
Leek Station Manager, Carl Mason added: "Thankfully Mr Bentley is ok following his ordeal and after seeing the dangers chip pans can pose has made the wise decision not to use one again.
"Our cooking campaign aims to reduce the number of accidental cooking fires we attend and we thank Mr Bentley for his support in helping to raise awareness of this."