London Fire Brigade

Drunk cooks spark festive fires warn firefighters

22 December 2017

Boozy London cooks are causing nearly four fires every week according to our new figures, with concern that cooking-related fires may rise in the Christmas period due to people cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol.

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly, said: “I hate to be the Christmas Grinch but please avoid getting too tipsy while preparing the turkey and all the trimmings this Christmas. Alcohol and cooking are a dangerous recipe.

“The most common Christmas cooking catastrophe is people coming home after they’ve been overdoing the  celebrations on  a night out and deciding to rustle up a quick snack. I’ve lost count of how many house fires I’ve attended where grills and pans have been left on while people fall asleep on the sofa, it’s much safer to pick up a take-away meal  instead.”

Our London drinking stats show that: 

  • Last year there were 165 alcohol-related accidental cooking fires
  • The second highest number of alcohol-related cooking fires have been recorded in December (August is the highest)
  • Firefighters have dealt with 994 alcohol-related accidental cooking fires over the past 5 years – that’s an average of 4 fires a week

Top tips to prevent cooking fires this Christmas

  • Don't cook if you have been drinking alcohol or are tired 
  • Avoid leaving cooking unattended 
  • Take care not to lean over hot hobs and keep tea towels and clothes 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