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Cooking Sparks Winter Fires

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02 Jul 2010
Two kitchen fires in Melbourne yesterday are a timely reminder to never leave cooking unattended.

Firefighters attended two fires around lunchtime on Thursday, at a home in Ringwood and a restaurant in Keilor, where cooking oil left heating on the stove ignited, causing property damage and injury.

At the Bamboo Asian Restaurant on Old Calder Hwy just before 2pm, the restaurant owner suffered minor burns to his face as he tried to put out an oil fire on the kitchen stove.

He had earlier left the oil to heat and became distracted chatting to a neighbouring shop owner.

Meanwhile in Oliver Street, Ringwood at 12.17pm, a couple were lucky to escape unharmed when the oil they were cooking hot chips in ignited.

Fortunately they quickly abandoned attempts to douse the flames with water, evacuating their home and calling triple zero. Water on burning cooking oil reacts so strongly that people usually suffer extreme burns.

Both fires were contained quickly by firefighters; at Keilor the fire was contained to the stove and above flue, while the Ringwood fire caused minor damage to the cupboards and range hood above the stove.

MFB Assistant Chief Fire Officer Rob Taylor said people should never leave cooking unattended and should be especially careful when cooking with oil or fat.

"These fires also highlight the danger of throwing water on flaming oil, which can actually spread the flames and inflict serious burns.

"In these situations, flames should be smothered with a fire blanket or with the lid of the pot, and where possible turn off the stove.

CFA Director Community Safety Lisa Sturzenegger said kitchen fires were still the single biggest cause of house fires in Victoria.

"Last year, fire agencies responded to 1245 house fires in Victoria. Of those, 30 per cent started in the kitchen," she said.

"Having a working smoke alarm and a well practised home fire escape plan is one of the best ways to ensure you and your family’s safety."

For more information contact:

MFB Media                 CFA Media

(03) 9665 4699         (03) 5330 3124

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