London Fire Brigade

Poppadom blaze damages Tooting takeaway

28 May 2012

A fire broke out in an Indian restaurant in London curry hot spot, Tooting, on Saturday night, said the London Fire Brigade today.

The fire started when a pan of oil being used to cook poppadoms burst into flames. It’s thought the poppadom chef had left the pan unattended briefly, causing it to overheat and catch fire.

Station Manager Steve Norman, who was at the scene, said: “We understand the poppadom chef had popped to the loo and when he came back the pan of oil was ablaze.

“If you’re cooking with hot oil it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on it at all times. As we’ve seen here, all it takes is a couple of minutes for the pan to burst into flames. If your pan catches fire you should only turn the heat off if it’s safe to do so. Don’t try to tackle the fire yourself, just get out, stay out and call 999.”

The fire spread into the restaurant’s ducting (extraction unit) which spread up to the flat above and caused a small amount of damage to the flat. Neither the restaurant nor flat were badly damaged. There were around ten people in the restaurant at the time but fortunately no one was injured. A smoke alarm in the flat above went off, alerting the residents to the fire and all seven of them were able to escape unharmed.

The Brigade was called at 1949 on Saturday 26 May to the fire, which was on Upper Tooting Road. The fire was under control by 2042. Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Wimbledon and Tooting fire stations were at the scene.

London Fire Brigade advice on cooking with hot oil

• Never fill a pan more than a third full with fat or oil.
• Dry chips/food before putting them in the pan.
• If the oil has started smoking turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool down, otherwise it may catch fire.
• Turn off the hob if you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking.

If your pan catches fire:

• Don't panic and don’t take risks.
• Don't move the pan.
• Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a hot fat fire.
• If it's safe to do so - turn off the heat, but never lean over the pan to reach the controls.
• Leave the kitchen, close the door behind you, tell everyone else in the home to get out and don’t go back inside for any reason.
• Call 999


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