CHIP pans sparked blazes in four homes in South Tyneside last year, latest figures show.
Firefighters have revealed the number of call-outs between April 2011 and March 2012 – down from 13 the previous year – as a warning to residents of the dangers of chip pans.
The figures, which also reveal there were 294 kitchen fires in the borough last year, have been released as part of National Chip Week to remind people not to leave pans unattended while cooking.
District Manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Ian Robertson, said: “While we are very pleased the number of chip pan fires has dropped significantly in recent years, the majority of house fires we attend start in the kitchen, where it is easy to become distracted. Chip pans can be especially dangerous, because of the hot oil.
“They can cause horrific burns and even death, as well as significant damage to your home.
“I urge everyone who owns a chip pan to ditch it in favour of oven chips or a thermostatically-controlled deep fat fryer, which is much safer.”
Firefighters are also encouraging people to check that they have working smoke alarms in their homes, and to test them weekly.
Firefighters tips include:
n Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil.
n Be careful it doesn’t overheat.
n Never cook after drinking alcohol.
n Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
For more advice, visit www.twfire.gov.uk/cookingsafety.