London Fire Brigade

Cooking safety warning issued after Woolwich flat fire

01 January 2018

Firefighters are warning people not to leave their cooking unattended after a flat fire on Belson Road in Woolwich yesterday.

The fire damaged a small part of a five roomed flat on the first floor of a six storey block. Three people evacuated before the Brigade arrived. Fortunately no injuries are reported.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “It’s believed the fire was caused by cooking left unattended. If you are cooking and you have to leave the room, turn the heat off before you do.

“This incident shows how important smoke alarms are but also heat detectors for kitchens. These are designed for use in the kitchen and go off when a certain temperature is reached.

“As a minimum you should have at least one smoke alarm fitted on the ceiling of every floor in your home, however, we recommend you fit one in every room you regularly use as well as in the hallway.

“Do not place smoke alarms in kitchens or bathrooms as the steam can damage the unit or unintentionally activate it.

“Ideal locations for smoke alarms include rooms where electrical equipment is left switched on, such as living rooms or bedrooms.”

The Brigade was called at 1218 and the fire was under control at 1301. Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers from East Greenwich, Plumstead, Eltham and Greenwich fire stations attended the incident.

How to prevent cooking fires

  • Avoid leaving cooking unattended
  • Don't cook if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that might make you drowsy 
  • Take care not to lean over hot hobs and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
  • Be careful to keep the oven, hob, cooker hood and grill clean to avoid a build-up of fat and grease, which could ignite and cause a fire
  • Use spark devices to light gas cookers - they are much safer than matches or lighters as they don't have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you've finished cooking
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from anything that can catch fire
  • Never put anything metal in the microwave
  • Supervise children and pets in the kitchen at all times and keep matches and saucepan handles out of reach