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A man was critically injured in Abbey Wood, south east London after a chip pan exploded into a fireball in the early hours of Saturday morning.
It is thought he poured cold water onto the flaming pan to extinguish the flames, causing the pan to explode and the flames to spread.
Fire investigators believe the man filled the chip pan with oil and then fell asleep, forgetting about the pan.
A woman and two children, aged five and eight, were also in the flat at the time. They were all woken by the smoke alarm and the woman and children escaped but the man stayed behind to try and put the fire out.
He sustained serious burns and remains in hospital in a critical condition.
A Brigade spokesperson said: "It seems that many easy mistakes were made that could have prevented this catastrophe.
"Chip pans can be incredibly dangerous if you’re not extremely careful with them. Electric fryers are much safer. If you still use a chip pan, you should never do so when tired or under the influence.
"If your pan catches fire the most dangerous thing you can do is put cold water on it, as we saw here, it’s likely to explode into a fireball."
The Brigade advises that if a fire does break out, you should escape and call 999, rather than attempting to tackle the fire yourself.
The incident happened at a flat on the fourth floor of a 12-storey building on Wolvercote Road, Abbey Wood. Around half of the flat was damaged by fire.
We were called at 0440 on Saturday, 29 August and the fire was under control by 0556.
Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Plumstead, Erith and Bexley fire stations attended.