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Recent incident highlights dangers of chip pans

Firefighters are reissuing a warning about the dangers of using chip pans following a kitchen fire at a property on Morningside Close, Shelton Lock.

Thanks to the quick thinking and actions of a neighbour, the fire was out on arrival of fire crews from Nottingham Road Community Fire Station, however the kitchen of the property still suffered extensive smoke damage.

Watch Manager Tony Rohomon who was the officer in charge at the fire on the 20 April 2021, said: “While the quick thinking of Mr Jones on entering the property and extinguishing the chip pan fire undoubtedly prevented a more serious fire developing, he was very fortunate not to have suffered any injuries himself. During 2020/21, 47 people were hospitalised as a result of accidental fire injuries in Derbyshire, underlining why the fire and rescue service promotes the message - get out, stay out and call 999.

“The oil in a chip pan can reach extremely high temperatures making it extremely flammable, which is why we encourage people to use air fryers or thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryers, or other alternatives as a safer way to prepare food.

“If a chip pan does catch fire putting it out can be extremely dangerous. Instinctively we reach for water to put out a fire; but, pouring water onto hot oil would be catastrophic. Even when a small quantity of water comes into contact with hot oil, it causes the oil to spit, and when it comes into contact with larger quantities the effects are much worse, with the potential for an explosion of fire.

“If you must use a chip pan and it does catch fire our advice is simple, Get Out, Stay Out and Call 999.”

Speaking after the incident next door neighbour, John Jones, said: “I was sat in my living room and saw a man run out clutching a baby. He was followed by my neighbour and her son who was asking for his toy bunny. They all seemed distressed so I immediately knew something was wrong.

“I went out to check everything was ok and heard her on the phone saying her home was on fire. Then instinct kicked in, I knew if I didn’t do something the situation could get a lot worse. I asked what type of fire it was and if she would allow me in her property to see what I could do – she told me it was an oil fire, and I knew I could help.

“The property was full of smoke, so my neighbours partner helped me soak as many towels as possible to allow me to crawl along the kitchen floor and reach up and cover the fire to smoother it.  I then reached the electric switch to turn it off. Once it was out I managed to open the windows to try and clear the smoke, and that’s when the fire service arrived.

“I know you shouldn’t enter a fire, but I assessed the situation and knowing the building and its residents knew I could help.”

To prevent a fire in your kitchen and to stay safe, follow these simple steps:

Replace your chip pan with an air fryer, however if you must cook with a chip pan:

  • Never leave your chip pan unattended.
  • Take extra care when cooking with hot oil - it sets alight easily.
  • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it does not splash.
  • If the oil starts to smoke it is too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Never overfill a chip pan with oil and use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer. They cannot overheat.
  • Make sure you have smoke alarms fitted on every level of your home and test them weekly.
  • Ensure you have a pre-planned and practiced escape plan that everyone in the home is aware of. If a chip pan does catch fire, don't take any risks. If it is safe to do so, turn off the heat, never throw water over it, and Get out, stay out and call 999.

For more information on cooking safely visit our website or follow us on social media @DerbyshireFRS.