London Fire Brigade

Chip pan disaster for teenage boy during Chip Week

19 February 2014

A teenage boy caused a kitchen blaze yesterday, after attempting to use a chip pan to cook chips to accompany his takeaway pizza, said the London Fire Brigade today.

The blaze happened in Chip Week, during which the Brigade has highlighted that the number of chip pan fires across the capital has risen, bucking the trend for fires overall, which fell by 25 per cent last year. The Brigade urged people to take care when using chip pans, which can be lethal if not used carefully. The Brigade said it believes the trend for celebrity endorsed ‘posh chips,’ or those that have been triple-cooked, could be to blame for the rise.

It’s thought the fire started after the boy and his friend became distracted and left the boiling hot cooking oil bubbling away on the stove. The pair remembered they’d left the chip pan on after about ten minutes, by which time it had burst into flames.

Stuart Drummond, a fire investigator who was called to the scene, said:

“It shows how easy it is for cooking oil to catch fire if you leave it unattended for any period of time.

“Fortunately the lad and his friend weren’t injured, but his dad sustained minor burns attempting to extinguish the fire.

“As a fire investigator, I often see the aftermath of chip pan fires and it’s quite scary how much damage they can cause. They can lead to serious injuries and can even be fatal.”

It’s believed that the dad suffered minor burns to his arms and abdomen and was taken to hospital to be checked over.

A woman and young baby were led to safety by firefighters from the flat above the property where the fire started. The woman dialled 999 after smelling the smoke from the fire. They were take to hospital as a precaution, but it’s not thought they were injured.

Two fire engines from Fulham and Tooting fire stations and a fire appliance from Chelsea fire station attended the blaze. Around 15 firefighters tackled the blaze, which was on Portinscale Road in Tooting. Firefighters fitted a new smoke alarm in the flat after they’d dealt with the incident.

The LFB was called at 1256 and the fire was under control at 1351.

Ends
Notes to editors

The Brigade’s chip safety advice is as follows:

  • Oven chips, or even better a trip to the chippy, are safer alternatives to chip pans
  • If you’re cooking with hot oil, keep a close eye on it at all times
  • Frying and alcohol are a bad combination as your concentration won’t be as sharp and you could fall asleep, accidentally leaving the pan on

If the worst happens and your pan does catch fire:

  • Don't move the pan.
  • Never put water into a flaming chip pan – you’ll create a huge fire ball.
  • If it's safe to do so - turn off the heat.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.