Safety reminder after chip pan fire

Thu 27 Apr, 2017

This carefully-controlled demonstration at a fire station open day shows how quickly a fire in a pan of overheated cooking oil can spread if it comes into contact with water. The pictures were taken at intervals of one second. The firefighter poured the water out of a cup at the end of a long handle.

Firefighters are reminding people never to put water on to a fire involving cooking oil after an incident in Aylesbury yesterday evening (Wednesday 26 April).

Two crews from Aylesbury were called to a house in Merton Close, Berryfields, after a fire in a chip pan was tackled with water.

Although the fire was out when firefighters arrived, the occupants - a man and a woman - were suffering from minor burns and smoke inhalation. Firefighters gave them first aid and oxygen.

Group Commander Richard Priest from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: “Our advice in a situation like this is to switch off the cooker if it is safe to do so and to get out of your home, shutting doors behind you. Stay outside and call 999.

"Throwing water on to it will cause a plume of burning oil which can cause serious injury or even kill you."

He 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.
  • If it does catch fire, don't move the pan, and don't throw water over it - you will only spread the fire, and may injure yourself in the process. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so.
  • Don’t cook if you are tired, or after drinking alcohol.
  • Don't leave pans on the hob when you're not around. Take them off the heat if you have to leave the kitchen and switch off the hob.
  • Don't use your hob as an extension of your kitchen worktop by placing other items on it when you are not using it for cooking.
  • Angle saucepan handles so they don't stick out from the hob, or over a naked flame, and never leave children alone in the kitchen.
  • When you have finished cooking, make sure you switch off the oven and hob 
  • 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