Date: 28th February, 2020
A fire that severely damaged a house in Chippenham last night (27 February) is believed to have started after a chip pan was left unattended on the hob.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to Cocklebury Lane at 7.22pm after reports of a kitchen fire in a semi-detached house.
Two crews from Chippenham and one from Corsham were initially mobilised, but a quick decision was made to increase firefighter attendance in order to protect the neighbouring property. This tactic was successful, with only slight damage to the roof.
At the height of the incident, there were eight fire engines on scene – with further resources coming from Calne, Malmesbury, Westlea, Trowbridge and Swindon – supported by an incident command vehicle from Devizes, a water carrier from Royal Wootton Bassett and an operational support unit from Swindon. Volunteers from the British Red Cross emergency response service attended to provide support to the occupier.
A watching brief was maintained overnight, initially by a crew from Melksham, then one from Bradford on Avon, and most recently by a crew from Royal Wootton Bassett.
It is believed that the fire started accidentally as a result of unattended cooking in the kitchen. Fortunately, a working smoke alarm alerted the occupier, who attempted to extinguish the fire before the arrival of firefighters.
Station Manager Wayne Jones said: “Nearly two thirds of all accidental fires in homes across Dorset and Wiltshire start in the kitchen, and this incident shows just how easy it is for accidents to happen. Thankfully, this property had a working smoke alarm and the occupant was able to escape the building and alert neighbours before fire crews arrived, but the damage to his home is severe.”
The Fire and Rescue Service has the following kitchen safety advice:
- Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
- If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999.
- Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking.
- Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
- Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
- Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
- Take care with electrics – leads and appliances away from water and place grills and away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
- Keep your cooking equipment clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
- Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.
- Hot oil can catch fire easily – be careful that it doesn’t overheat.
- Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
- In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place.
- Make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm and test it weekly.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service provide free Safe and Well visits, which aim to make you safer in your own home. A member of DWFRS staff will come to your home and provide you with bespoke home safety advice, covering areas such as the use of candles, cooking, electric blankets, overloading sockets, chimneys, low energy light bulbs and much more. They even fit or replace smoke alarms, if appropriate.
To request a free Safe & Well visit, call 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safety for more information and advice.