Never leave flammable materials on or near your cooker, urges fire chief

Firefighters are urging people to never leave materials or objects on or near their cooker as this can lead to fires occurring in their home.

There were 117 accidental fires involving cookers in homes across Cheshire last year.

One of the main causes was items catching fire having been left too close to hobs or grills.

Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “People using the top of their cookers as an extra worktop is an alarming growing trend.

“Cluttered kitchens are commonplace in modern life, but the flat surface of an electric cooker is not a safe place to leave materials or objects.

“Items on top of, or near to, a cooker can easily catch fire and put your and your family’s lives at risk.

“When materials or objects are left on or by a cooker, it only takes a hob being turned on accidentally or for cooking food to be left unattended for a brief amount of time for a life-threatening fire to start in your home.

“When firefighters attend such incidents, the occupiers are always full of regret and vow never to leave things like tea towels, cloths, plastic containers, newspapers and mail anywhere near the cooker again.

“But it is too late at that stage. At the very least their kitchen has already been damaged, and fire damaged kitchens can take many months to repair.”

There were more accidental fires involving cookers in Cheshire West and Chester (40) last year than the three other local authority areas in Cheshire.

The number of such fires in the other areas were 38 (Cheshire East), 26 (Warrington) and 13 (Halton).

The fire stations in Cheshire that dealt with the most accidental fires involving cookers last year were:

  1. Warrington: 18

  2. Chester: 13

  3. Crewe: 11

  4. Ellesmere Port: 10

  5. Winsford: 8

  6. Runcorn, Powey Lane and Birchwood: 7

Nick added: “Our message to people who leave things on or near their cooker is to get out of that life-threatening habit and to follow all of our other kitchen fire safety advice.”

Follow these tips to keep you and your loved ones safe whilst cooking:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended

  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking – take pans off the heat, or turn the heat down to avoid a fire risk

  • Make sure that the handles of saucepans on your hobs do not stick out, to avoid them being accidentally knocked off

  • Be extra careful if you are wearing loose clothing whilst cooking, as they can easily catch fire

  • Keep your oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order – a build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil as it sets alight easily

  • Make sure that food is dry before deep fat frying it in hot oil, so that it does not splash

  • Turn off the heat and leave oil to cool if it starts to smoke when you are preparing to deep fat fry food

  • It is wise to use thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryers as they cannot overheat

  • If a pan catches fire, turn off the heat if it is safe to do so – never throw water over it

  • Double check that your cooker is off when you have finished cooking.

If a fire starts in your kitchen, do not tackle it yourself – shut the door, get out of your home, stay out and call 999.