WEST Sussex Fire and Rescue is stressing the importance of taking extra care when cooking after responding to six kitchen fires in the space of just six hours.
Two fire engines were sent to a small oven fire in Charlecote Road in Worthing on Monday, after attending another fire in Worthing around an hour before.
The fire was put out before firefighters arrived, however, others weren’t as fortunate – a house in Crawley was left badly damaged by fire and smoke after a fire broke out an the residents weren’t in to put it out.
Watch Commander Lee Walton, who was in charge at the kitchen fire in Crawley, said afterwards: “The best piece of advice I can offer is to keep your cooking area completely clear and, if you have an electric cooker, switch it off at the wall when you’re not using it.”
Firefighters were also called out to Boxgrove, Yapton and Bognor.
Careless cooking is the most common cause of accidental fires in West Sussex with around two-thirds of all house fires originating in the kitchen.
Having a smoke alarm fitted is a good way to ensure an early warning of a fire but it cannot prevent a fire from starting.
To prevent kitchen fires like these the fire service has issued some top tips for staying safe in the kitchen:
Kitchen fires often occur when people get distracted – if you are called away from the cooker then ensure you take pans off the heat
Keep your cooker top and cooking area completely clear.
Don’t put oven gloves or tea towels down on a hot cooker after you have used them.
Clean toasters, hobs and grill pans regularly to avoid a build-up of crumbs or fat which can easily catch fire.
Avoid wearing clothes with loose, flowing sleeves if you’re cooking.
Cooking after drinking alcohol can be a recipe for disaster – consider a takeaway instead.
Ditch that chip pan. Thermostatically controlled deep fat fryers are much safer.
If you do have a fire in the kitchen, don’t take any risks – get everyone out and dial 999.
To find out if you are eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check call 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire where you can also access a full range of fire safety advice.