Safety warning after festive kitchen fires

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People are being urged to take extra care after a candle left unattended almost sent a property up in flames on Christmas Day.

Firefighters were called to Lambourn Way in Bedford just before 3.30pm on December 25.

When they arrived the fire caused by a candle was already out but it had burnt furniture and caused smoke damage.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is advising people to take extra care with candles, not to move them while alight, not to leave them unattended and to always make sure they are in proper holders.

>On Boxing Day at around 11.15pm crews were called to a barn fire at Bell Farm, Ridge Road, Kempston.

They used two jets to put out the flames, which had engulfed the barn measuring 10m by 15m.

There were no casualties.

The fire is thought to have been started deliberately. Anyone with information can contact police on 101.

Earlier in the day firefighters rescued a dog from a kitchen fire in Trunk Furlong, Aspley Guise.

Crews from Toddington and Leighton Buzzard attended the incident just after 2pm and wore breathing apparatus and used fire hoses to tackle the flames.

>On Sunday, December 27, firefighters dealt with a cooker fire in Allen Close, Bedford.

There were no casualties.

Befordshire Fire and Rescue Service community safety officer, Andy Martin, said: “These fires turned out to be small and were put out quickly, but they could easily have turned into something more tragic. Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like phone calls or family. So whatever happens elsewhere in the house, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.”

The Fire Kills campaign’s top tips for staying safe in the kitchen are:

>Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.

>If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999.

>Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking.

>Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.

>Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.

>Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.

>Take care with electrics - leads and appliances away from water and place grills and away from curtains and kitchen rolls.

>Keep your equipment clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.

>Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.

>Hot oil can catch fire easily - be careful that it doesn’t overheat.

>Never throw water on a chip pan fire.

>In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place.

>Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly.

For more information on fire safety, please visit www.facebook.com/firekills or the cooking safety page of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Website at www.bedsfire.com/CommunitySafety/HomeFireSafety/Pages/Cooking%20Safety.aspx.