FIRE chiefs have issued a warning to residents following a spike in the number of chip pan fires.
Over the last two years there has been an eight per cent rise in incidents in Staffordshire, while the county’s fire service attended 70 house fires during 2012 which began in chip pans, and a total of 324 kitchen fires since April.
The issue is proving to be particularly problematic in Staffordshire with the number of fires starting as a result of chip pans dwarfing the amount in neighbouring areas such as the West Midlands and Cheshire, forcing fire chiefs to issue a warning to people to take care when cooking.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service were called out to 39 fires caused by chip pans in 2012, with a comparatively low 21 incidents in the largely populated West Midlands conurbation during the same period.
In a bid to tackle the issue, fire service demonstrations have been organised across the county during this week.
Fire chiefs are also advising people to use alternative methods to chip pans, such as deep fat fryers with automatic thermostats and where possible to avoid using cooking fats or oils, while Burton Fire Station watch manager Nigel Taylor-Brown believes people should stop using chip pans altogether.
Glynn Luznyj, head of risk reduction at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We attend numerous fires caused by people putting their chip pans on and then falling asleep or getting distracted by a phone call or someone at the door. Chip pans can cause serious fires because they can very quickly overheat and then ignite.
“While we have only had a small increase in chip pan fires it is an increase nonetheless and all were avoidable fires.
“We hope by educating people further about the dangers of chip pans we will see a decrease in such fires this year. “
Mr Taylor-Brown added: “We have tried to persuade people to stop using chip pans for years due to their dangerous nature.”