Kitchen fire reminder after woman is taken to hospital

Wed 12 Nov, 2014

Firefighters are reminding people not to tackle fires involving pans of cooking oil after an incident in High Wycombe yesterday (Tuesday 11 November).

A crew from High Wycombe was called to a house in Mendip Way, Downley, shortly before 7pm. Watch Manager Graham Danbury said: “The occupant suffered smoke inhalation and had to be taken to hospital after trying to tackle the fire herself by throwing a towel over it.

“Our advice is to get out of the house, shutting doors behind you, call 999 and don’t go back inside.”

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to put out the fire and a fan to clear away the smoke. They also rescued a cat from the kitchen.

Last year, more than half of all accidental fires in the home (125 of the 247 accidental house fires in Buckinghamshire, and 119 of the 185 accidental house fires in Milton Keynes), started in the kitchen. Nineteen people were injured in these kitchen fires - eight in Buckinghamshire, and 11 in Milton Keynes.

Graham said: “Leaving a chip pan unattended for any length of time can have disastrous results as the oil can easily overheat and ignite. A simple switch from the pan to the oven or a temperature-controlled deep fat fryer can help prevent the worst.

“If you do choose to use a pan, please don’t leave it unattended. If your pan does catch light, don’t throw water over it – get out, stay out and call 999.”

Graham offered the following safety tips:

  • Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one-third full.
  • Be careful that it doesn’t overheat - hot oil can catch fire easily.
  • Use a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer, which will make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot.
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  • Don’t cook if you are tired, or after drinking alcohol.
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape route in place.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Get a smoke alarm and test it regularly. If you don't have smoke alarms, ring Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service on 01296 744477 or send an email to