Drink and cooking don’t mix warning as students rescued in kitchen blaze

Firefighters were called to a flat in Colchester (stock image). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Firefighters were called to a flat in Colchester (stock image). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Students getting used to life away from home have been given a stark warning after a flat fire in Colchester left two young people needing hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were called to the flat in Colchester in the early hours of Monday morning to find a kitchen fire and two women asleep after drinking.

Two crews from Colchester were called to Capstan Place after a neighbour heard the smoke alarm going off shortly after 3am.

When crews arrived they had to force entry to the flat through a window and then reported a kitchen fire and that two people were still inside the flat.

Richard Lark, Station Officer at Colchester, said: “Although the smoke alarm was going off the two females in the flat were asleep in their bedrooms and intoxicated from alcohol.

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“My crew woke them up, led them safely outside and gave them first aid before leaving them in the care of the Ambulance Service.”

The fire had started after the students left cooking on the hob and fell asleep in their rooms.

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When the fire service handed them over to the ambulance crews they were not thought to be seriously hurt but were being given a full medical check and whatever treatment they needed.

Mr Lark added: “More than half of house fires in Essex start in the kitchen. Students are at particular risk of this as over half of the fire deaths in 18-24 year-olds are caused by misusing cooking equipment and carelessly handling hot substances.

“As students return for a new academic year we’re urging them to take care and not put themselves at risk, or worse, end a night out in tragedy.

“The easiest way to stay safe in the kitchen is never to leave cooking unattended, and if you’ve been drinking then just don’t cook – grab a takeaway or prepare something in advance.”

The fire service has issued safety advice to try to ensure that householders stay safe in the kitchen:

Ensure all cookers and hobs are turned off after use.

Keep hobs, ovens and grills clean as a build-up of fat and grease can catch fire. Remember to empty the crumb tray in your toaster regularly.

Keep cooking areas free from rubbish and clutter, even things like tea towels, cookery books, spice racks and knife blocks could pose a fire risk if stored too close to the hob.

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