A chip pan has been identified as the cause of a fire which destroyed several homes in Hastings. A woman was left seriously injured after jumping from a 3rd floor window to escape the fire.
The fire broke out at 00.34 on Sunday morning (25 May 2014) on Marine Parade. At the height of the incident 40 firefighters were at the scene. Because the roof space was shared with other homes, the fire spread to neighbouring properties.
Director of Prevention & Protection Andy Reynolds said:
“The extent of damage caused by this fire is significant. People had to leave their homes and belongings to be led to safety by crews and one person was left seriously hurt having had to jump to escape the flames. One home is just a shell and the roof has been destroyed on several others.
This is obviously very distressing for everyone involved and we don’t want anyone else going through the same thing. We know that the source of this fire was a chip pan. We are urging everyone to take extra care when cooking and make sure they have working smoke alarms fitted.”
Sussex Police and Hastings Borough Council worked alongside East Sussex Fire and Rescue at the scene.
Nigel Cusack, Hastings Borough Commander, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said:
“In particular we’d like to thank Hastings Borough Council for their support during this incident. They not only looked after those who had to leave their homes but they helped ensure the welfare of our crews during the incident. They offered a huge amount of practical help such as equipment to shore up the building to allow us to carry out the fire investigation. They have also worked with us to get local businesses back up and running as soon as possible.”
Insp. Chris Veale Hastings Neighbourhood Police Team said: “Our Scenes of Crime team have worked with the fire service to discover its source. Our local officers have been busy talking to witnesses and to those in the Old Town community who have been affected by the fire.
Our thoughts are with those who have been affected, local residents and businesses and in particular the family and friends of the injured lady who is recovering in hospital. I would also like to personally thank the people who helped her escape from the burning building.”
Facts and figures
In 2013/14, there were 525 accidental dwelling fires (fires in residential properties) across the whole of East Sussex and Brighton and Hove City. 333 of these originated in the kitchen – that’s 63%.
Looking specifically at Hastings, it had 92 accidental dwelling fires (fires in residential properties). 57 of these originated in kitchens (62%).
Cooking safety tips
- Never leave a chip pan – better still use oven chips or pop down the local takeaway
- Cooking is more risky when you are tired or under the influence of drink or drugs – think of other options like a sandwich or other food you don’t need to heat
- Don’t be distracted when cooking – whether the phone rings, children demand your attention or there’s someone at the door, don’t forget what’s on the hob or in the oven
- Always use a timer to make sure you remember to check your cooking – they can be bought for as little as two or three pounds or you can use a timer on your mobile phone
- Fit them – you should have a minimum of one alarm on each level. Put it somewhere you'll be able to hear it when you're asleep
- Test them – ideally press the button once a week and replace them if they don’t work. Don’t remove batteries.
- Spread the word – ask your friends, families and neighbours whether they have smoke alarms fitted
- Get help – in special cases we will come and fit free smoke alarms – find out more at www.esfrs.org/communitySafety/ or by calling free phone number 0800 177 7069.