Firefighters are warning people about the dangers of using chip pans in the wake of yet another incident in north Staffordshire.
"I would urge people never to leave cooking unattended and to remain in the kitchen at all times whilst food is on the heat. I would also strongly recommend that anyone who still has a chip pan replaces it with a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer which is much safer."
Station Manager Brian Griffiths
The fire broke out in the early hours of yesterday morning at a house on Glebedale in Leek.
The elderly occupant had put the chip pan on the hob in the kitchen before falling asleep. He woke up after being alerted to the fire when his smoke alarm, which was fitted by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, went off.
He realised that the chip pan was alight so immediately left the property. His neighbour, who also heard the smoke detector, took the chip pan off the heat before dialling 999.
Two crews from Leek attended the incident at 12.52am. The fire was out when they arrived so they ventilated the property and gave the 82-year-old man Oxygen therapy. Firefighters left the scene at 1.43am. A fire investigation found that the cause was accidental.
Station Manager Brian Griffiths said: "I would urge people never to leave cooking unattended and to remain in the kitchen at all times whilst food is on the heat.
"I would also strongly recommend that anyone who still has a chip pan replaces it with a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer which is much safer. It is vital to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol as this too can be extremely dangerous.
"This gentleman had a lucky escape and if it wasn’t for the fact that the fire service recently carried out a Home Fire Risk Check and made sure that the house was fitted with working smoke alarms, the outcome could have been very different. This goes to show exactly how important they are in alerting people to fires at the earliest opportunity."
In 2013 there were 58 blazes involving deep fat fryers and chip pans in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent – with 28 of those taking place in the north of the county.
Anyone who is concerned about fire safety can book a free Home Fire Risk Check. Crew members or technicians will visit a person’s home, check to see if their smoke alarms are working and, if they are not, they will fit a new one.
They also talk people through possible escape routes and check for potential hazards. To book call Freephone 0800 0241 999, text 07528 983101 or visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp