London Fire Brigade

Firefighters back Mary Berry in deep fat fryer 'spat' with Greg Wallace

30 August 2016

Our fire chiefs today backed Mary Berry's suggestion that deep fat fryers can be dangerous, with new figures showing that they have caused over 630 house fires in London alone since 2010, with over 70 people being injured.

Great British Bake Off star, Berry, who said she thought deep-fat fryers should be banned from homes, was criticised by MasterChef judge, Greg Wallace, who said that her opposition to the deep-fat fryer was "an attack on our British way of life".

Andy Hearn, a Deputy Assistant Commissioner at London Fire Brigade, said: "The British way of life isn't about doing something that could potentially place your home and family at risk, and if you're not careful, using deep fat fryer could do just that.

"Mary Berry is absolutely correct, deep fat fryers, especially the traditional chip pans, can be dangerous and unfortunately they cause serious fires every week.

"I'm not saying people must stop eating chips, but there are far safer ways to enjoy them than preparing them using these fryers. Visiting the chip shop or making oven chips are much safer options."

Forty-two fires and eight injuries this year

Over 60 per cent of fires in the home start in the kitchen, with more than one fire a week being caused by deep fat fryers. There have been 42 such fires in London so far in 2016, with eight people having been injured.

In June, two women, one of whom was heavily pregnant, were injured after a chip pan burst into flames in Chiswick, west London. It is thought the boiling pan was left unattended and when the women realised it was on fire, they poured water onto it, causing it to burst into flames.

Our advice if you have to use a chip pans or traditional fat fryers

We're particularly concerned about the use of traditional chip pans, which can be hazardous, especially when left unattended.

  • Never fill a chip pan over a third full with oil or fat.
  • Never be tempted to cook with a chip pan after consuming alcohol.
  • Never leave the pan alone with the heat on – not even for a few seconds.
  • Never put the chips in the pan if the oil has started smoking.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool down, or else it could catch fire.

In the event of a 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.