The Fire & Rescue Service has urged people to switch to deep fat fryers following a chip pan fire in Londonderry this evening.
A total of 15 fire-fighters attended the scene of the blaze at a bungalow in the Westway area of the Creggan estate.
Fire & Rescue Service District Commander Barry McDowell said that neighbours raised the alarm after hearing a smoke detector go off in the house at around 5.50pm.
Two fire appliances were dispatched from Northland Road in the cityside and a third from Crescent Link Fire Station in the Waterside.
“The neighbours initially thought there was someone in the house, but thank goodness the person had left the house just prior to the fire,” Mr McDowell said.
On entering the house, fire-fighters came across the unattended chip pan on fire in the kitchen.
“These fires are quite intense in kitchens,” Mr McDowell said. “The four people who went in and extinguished the fire were wearing breathing apparatus. There was thick, dense smoke.”
The kitchen was extensively damaged in the fire, which also caused smoke damage throughout the rest of the bungalow.
In light of the incident, Mr McDowell called on local people to ensure they had working smoke alarms in their homes and tested them every week.
He also urged those still using chip pans to dispose of them and switch to deep fat fryers, which have lids on them and are temperature controlled.
“You cannot leave a chip pan unattended at all. We would recommend to change them.”
If anybody continues to use the potentially hazardous old-style chip pans, they should not fill them more than one third full of oil, the Fire Service have warned.