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Dartford family 'extremely lucky' to avoid injury after pouring water on chip pan fire

PUBLISHED: 08:25 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:25 06 November 2017

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Kent Fire and Rescue Service has issued fresh safety advice

A mother and her three children were “extremely lucky” to avoid injury during a blaze in Dartford over the weekend.

Fire broke out in the kitchen of a family home in Francis Road at around 9pm on Saturday, after a chip pan had caught alight.

Rushing to douse the flames, the mother tried to smother the fire a dry-tea towel, but when the heat set it alight, the family threw a bucket of water across the room.

This caused the fire to “flash over”.

Dartford watch manager John Allright explained: “The occupants were extremely lucky to have escaped injury because adding water to the oil fire caused the water to instantly heat up, expand, turn to steam and rise in a big steam cloud.

“Each particle of steam would have been coated in burning oil and could have caused serious burns if anyone had come into contact with it.”

Fortunately the mother and her children, who had been alerted to the blaze by their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, all safely escaped the two-storey property and called 999.

Two fire engines were sent to the scene, where crews put out the remains of the smouldering blaze.

The fire damaged the cooker as well surrounding cupboards and the kitchen ceiling, while parts of the room are now smoke logged.

Firefighters replaced the smoke alarms in the property and offered some safety advice and reassurance to the family.

Watch manger Allright said: “It is extremely easy to get distracted while cooking, however I would urge residents to take extra care not to leave cooking unattended. We would also advise families to consider getting for a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer or using oven chips instead of using an open pan, as hot oil can overheat and ignite very easily, resulting in a fire that can spread extremely quickly.

“If you must use a chip pan, please follow our chip pan safety advice and in the event of a fire involving oil, never attempt to put it out with water. The advice is to turn off the heat if it is safe to do so, get you and your family out of the property immediately, closing the doors behind you, and call 999.”

“This incident also highlights how vital it is to have a working smoke alarm fitted on each floor of you home to provide early warning in the event of a fire.”

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