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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Burton Family Support Fire Service Campaign

A Burton family are supporting Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s cooking campaign following the tragic loss of their mother earlier this month.

"If it is something as simple as having a free Home Fire Risk Check from the Fire Service then I would urge everyone to take the Service up on the offer."

Rukhsana Khan

Surayya Khan, aged 67, passed away in hospital on October 5 following a cooking fire at her home on Edward Street in Burton on September 23.

Now her family have pledged to support Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s ongoing cooking safety campaign, specifically in raising awareness amongst Asian members of the community.

Mrs Khan’s daughter, Rukhsana Khan said: "We are devastated by the loss of our mother but if we can help to prevent any other family from going through what we are it will be worth it.

"My mother was cooking at the time of the fire and it is thought her clothing caught fire which caused her eventual fatal injuries. She was in the kitchen alone at the time but managed to call my father for help.

"Eid is coming up so there will be a look of traditional Asian cooking taking place within the community and I would urge people to please take care in the kitchen. Sari’s and headscarves are loose items of clothing which could catch fire if you get too close so I would just like to remind people to take extra care in the kitchen, make sure your personal safety is your priority."

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been working with the family since the tragic fire and have this week returned to the house to fit specialist smoke alarms, as Mr Khan suffers from some hearing difficulties.

Station Manager, Mick Daniels said: "The Khan family have suffered a terrible tragedy and we want to help prevent any similar accidents occurring within the Asian community of East Staffordshire.

"Many Asian families follow specific traditional cooking methods and habits, particularly during religious festivals such as Eid. We want to work with these families to see how we can help to keep them safe from accidental fires and with support from the Khan family, we can learn from this tragic incident and hopefully prevent any other families going through the same thing."

Rukhsana added: "If it is something as simple as having a free Home Fire Risk Check from the Fire Service then I would urge everyone to take the Service up on the offer. Firefighters could give you life-saving advice, as well as checking your home is adequately protected by suitable smoke alarms."

Cooking fire safety tips for Eid include:
    • Look when you cook! Never leave cooking unattended – take karahi/pans off the heat if you have to leave the room. 
    • Never fill the karahi more than one-third full of oil. 
    • If a karahi is smoking excessively, turn off the heat. 
    • Never throw water on a burning karahi. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so, close the door to the kitchen and leave the house. Get out, stay out and call 999. 
    • Keep the oven hob and grill clean. A build-up of fat can easily catch fire. 
    • Consider grilling foods rather than frying. 
    • Clothes and scarves can easily catch fire while you are cooking. Make sure scarves and sleeves from hijabs, shalwar kameez, and saris are out of the way of the flames. 
    • When you have finished cooking make sure the cooker or oven is turned off.