Wigan residents still dicing with death in kitchen

Firefighters demonstrate just how lethal blazing cooking oil can be
Firefighters demonstrate just how lethal blazing cooking oil can be

Food lovers are continuing to put their lives at risk by cooking with chip pans - despite repeated warnings about how dangerous they can be.

Chip pans caused more than 80 fires in properties across the borough over the past five years, new figures have revealed.

Data obtained from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service under the Freedom of Information Act shows the extent of the problem.

Crews were called to 81 incidents involving chip pans between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

The fires caused 31 injuries, including two deaths.

From the casualties, four people needed hospital treatment for serious injuries and 13 for slight injuries.

First aid was given at the scene to six people, while eight needed precautionary checks.

While the data covers five full fiscal years, it also shows there have been 14 incidents involving chip pans so far this year.

In April, it was reported that a 19-year-old woman received burns to her face, hands and airway after throwing water onto a lit chip pan, causing flames to explode across the kitchen.

There was also “significant damage” to the house on Broadfern, on Rectory Lane, Standish.

Just a few weeks earlier firefighters had warned of the dangers of the equipment after attending three chip pan fires in three weeks.

A 90-year-old woman managed to escape her home on Milton Grove, Orrell, in July when a smoke alarm alerted her to a blaze involving her chip pan, which had been left on after cooking chips for lunch.

Fire crews have repeatedly urged people not to use chip pans and to choose safer options, such as an electric deep fat fryer or even visiting a chippy instead.

A fire service spokesman said: “We would urge everyone to swap their chip pan for an electric deep fat fryer, which are much safer to use.

“If you are going to use a chip pan, please make sure you always dry the food before putting it in the oil and never fill the pan more than one-third full of oil. If the oil starts to smoke, then it is too hot and the heat should be turned off and left to cool down.

“Most fires start in the kitchen and there are a number of steps we can all take whenever we are cooking to make sure we are doing so safely.

“This includes never leaving cooking unattended, double checking the hob is off when you have finished cooking and never cooking after drinking alcohol.

“If your chip pan does catch fire, never throw water on it and do not take any risks, get out, stay out and call 999. Don’t panic and if it is safe to do so turn off the heat and as you leave the kitchen close the kitchen door behind you, tell everyone else in the house to get out and don’t go back inside for any reason.”