‘Clean your kitchens’ warning after flat blazes

Firefightersl at the scene of a recent blaze at Windsor House in Canal Walk, Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (141690-4335)
Firefightersl at the scene of a recent blaze at Windsor House in Canal Walk, Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (141690-4335)

Delays after accident on the A27

Have your say

FIREFIGHTERS say poor housekeeping is causing kitchen blazes.

They sounded the alert after two fires in Havant within hours of each other, both caused by late-night cooking.

Both blazes – one in West Street, Havant, in the early hours of yesterday and the other in Somborne Road, Leigh Park at about 11.30pm the previous day – were caused by food being cooked that was not being watched at the time.

About 18 residents had to be evacuated from the two properties after the blazes broke out.

And two men, one aged 19 and the other aged 37, were treated for smoke inhalation following the fire at Somborne Road on Wednesday night.

Havant Fire Station watch manager Tim Burgess said kitchen fires were often the result of poor housekeeping.

He said: ‘They often happen when people don’t clean up the grease and the oil on the cooker, and that later burning off the surfaces.’

Mr Burgess said another common cause of kitchen fires is failing to read cooking instructions, or making mistakes with cooking times.

He said: ‘One of the fires was in a microwave when somebody forgot to put water in with their Super Noodles.

‘Fires can also happen when people put tin foil in the microwave, or put something on for 45 minutes instead of 45 seconds.’

Mr Burgess said that although the majority of kitchen fires happen at meal times, late-night incidents are not uncommon.

He said: ‘Sometimes people get home from a night out and put a frozen pizza in the oven, thinking they can wait 30 minutes and then they fall asleep.

‘A lot of the time it’s more about the smoke that’s produced rather than the flames, but it’s all toxic whichever way you look at it.

Yesterday Havant crew manager Ben Holt urged people to keep an eye on their cooking. He said: ‘We want to remind people not to leave their cooking unattended, and make surethey’ve got a working smoke alarm.’

Mr Holt said of the blaze in Somborne Road: ‘It was a small fire in someone’s kitchen due to some cooking being left unattended.

‘The occupants were alerted by their smoke alarm.’

The flat was smoke damaged.

Meanwhile about 10 residents were evacuated after the flat fire in West Street, Havant, broke out at about 2.30am yesterday,

Mr Holt added: ‘The fire brigade did smoke clearance using a fan.’

- Last night a couple called 999 after going on holiday and realising they had left something cooking on the stove.

Firefighters were sent to deal with the situation in Southwood Road, Hayling Island, at 8.45pm.

Havant crews got into the smoke-filled flat using a ladder. They then ventilated the property and took the overheated pan off the stove. Meanwhile, Southsea crews were called after cooking fumes set off an alarm in retirement flats in Old Portsmouth.