‘It just took hold so quickly’ - chip pan fire destroys Colchester home leaving woman injured

Fire at Daniel Cole Road, Colchester,Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Fire at Daniel Cole Road, Colchester,Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Neighbours have described how a home was lost to flames in a mere matter of minutes after a back-draft escalated a chip pan fire causing widespread damage and leaving a woman in hospital with burns.

The fire caused widespread damage. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

The fire caused widespread damage. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

The fire started at a semi-detached home in Daniel Cole Road, Colchester, last night and quickly took hold of the entire property.

Kevin Shipman, 57, who lives next door, said the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen at the back of the home but spread rapidly after the front door was opened.

“It must have created a back-draft, which took told and the whole house went up pretty quickly,” he added.

“The firefighters were here within minutes but by the time they arrived the fire was already upstairs.”

A woman in the home at the time of the fire suffered burns. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

A woman in the home at the time of the fire suffered burns. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

“Because the two doors were open it just took hold immediately.”

Mr Shipman said the house was rented by a couple who had lived there several years, but only the wife, thought to be aged in her early 40s, was at home when the fire happened. He said she was “pretty shook up” and was taken to hospital by the ambulance service to be treated for burns.

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Other neighbours say the husband had returned to the property after learning that his wife had been hurt and was later seen calling for the couple’s pet cats.

Five fire engines attended the property after reports came in just before 9pm. Crews arrived to find the house entirely. They worked to tackle the blaze from the ground and above, using an aerial ladder platform.

Mr Shipman’s wife, Karen, said: “It just took hold so quickly.”

Amid windy conditions, there were concerns the fire may spread to the adjoining property. However a man in the neighbouring property, who was house-sitting for his fiance, said it had been given the all-clear.

Michael Whittle, 57, who lives two doors along, said he was shocked by how fast the fire spread. “It just started in the kitchen and spread really quickly - it was quite surprising,” he said.

Firefighters had the flames out by 11.50pm but stayed on site until the early hours of the morning to check for hotspots. Neighbours said there was “lots of coming and going” throughout the night.

Station Manager Simon Dedman, said: “The fire appears to have started in the kitchen, where a chip pan had been left unattended. Incidents like these show how dangerous it can be to leave cooking unattended. When the homeowner discovered the fire she attempted to extinguish it herself and as a result suffered injury. Our advice to people after discovering a fire is always to get out, stay out, and then call 999.

“Unfortunately a moment’s distraction has meant that the house is completely destroyed by fire.”