SOUTH Yorkshire crews are warning people NOT to leave chip pans unattended, after being called to three such fires within an hour last night.
Two of the blazes, from which people were lucky to escape without serious injury, were in the Dearne, at Thurnscoe and Wombwell.
A man at a flat on Aldham House Lane, Wombwell, left his chips cooking while he nipped to the toilet just before 6pm. When he returned to the kitchen, the pan was on fire.
He carried it on to the flats’ landing where a neighbour helped to extinguish it. The owner of the chip pan suffered burns to his hand and his foot, and his kitchen was smoke-damaged.
At Thurnscoe, a resident of Walbert Avenue allowed a chip pan to overheat and catch fire, but was able to quell the flames with a damp tea-towel before leaving the property unharmed.
A further chip pan incident at Sheffield left a young couple with burns and the effects of smoke inhalation, for which they were treated at hospital.
Head of Community Safety at the South Yorkshire Fire Service, Diane Malpass, said: “People might think we preach to them about chip pans but these incidents show they are a very real danger. Throwing away chip pans will help to prevent one of the main causes of serious house fires and injuries. We would recommend that people either use oven chips, or buy a deep fat fryer that can be controlled by a thermostat.” Smoke alarms can give early warnings in potentially life-threatening fire situations. SYFR has a free service to remind people to check their smoke alarm on a weekly or monthly basis – for more details, visit www.pressthebutton.co.uk.