A chef escaped serious injury after trying to tackle a blaze in a deep fat fryer, prompting a safety warning from firefighters about the dangers of using water on oil fires.
Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to the fire at a café with flats above on Stoke Newington Church Street.
Part of the basement and a small part of the ground floor were damaged by the fire. Two members of staff left the cafe and a further two residents left the flats above before the Brigade arrived. A man was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by London Ambulance Service crews.
The fire started in a deep fat fryer and is believed to be accidental.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Staff saw the fire start in the deep fat fryer and the chef attempted to tackle the fire with a water fire extinguisher and fire blankets.
“Our advice is to never tackle a fire yourself and always get out, stay out and call 999.
“If you ever have an oil-based fire, putting water on it is the worst thing you can do as it can cause the oil to burst into a fireball.
“Thankfully, there was a fire alarm system fitted throughout this property which alerted the other people in the building.”
The Brigade was called at 1147 and the fire was under control by 1312. Fire crews from Stoke Newington, Hornsey, Islington, Homerton and Tottenham fire stations attended the scene.
We still see a substantial number of kitchen fires involving deep frying with oil or fat. However, it is possible reduce the fire risks of deep fat frying:
• Take extra care when cooking with hot oil as it can easily overheat and catch fire
• Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil
• Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil – oil and water are a dangerous mix
• If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
• Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible – they have automatic temperature controls, and are much safer
• It's also really important to keep the hob, cooker hood and extractor fan clean too – built up fat and grease can ignite and cause a fire