Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Firefighters issue safety warning after man falls asleep while cooking

Spendells Close, Walton
22/11/2020 @ 05:38
Incident Number: 134789
In attendance: 1 x Frinton, 1 x Clacton

Firefighters have issued fire safety advice after a man fell asleep while cooking which caused his flat to fill with smoke.

Fire crews were called by concerned neighbours who could hear a smoke alarm early on Saturday morning. When firefighters arrived, they found the flat smoke logged and a man still asleep inside the flat. They led him outside to safety while they dealt with the smoke which was coming from the kitchen.

Firefighters found that food had been left cooking in the oven.

Operational and Community Risk Manager Nick Singleton said "During the early hours of the morning, this man had started to cook some food, but then made the mistake of leaving the kitchen and falling asleep. His smoke alarms actuated, but they didn't wake him up. Luckily a neighbour heard the alarm and call 999. 

"This incident could have ended much differently, so we would like to remind everyone how dangerous it is to try to cook food late at night and when you are tired. Our advice is to get a takeaway or make yourself a sandwich. This man has been very lucky, and thanks to his working smoke alarms, we were called before the smoke became too overwhelming or a fire started."

More than half of accidental fires at home are started by cooking - follow our cooking safety advice to stay safe in your kitchen:

  • Do not attempt to cook if you have been drinking or are very tired
  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob.  Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out – so they don’t get knocked off the stove.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.

Not got a smoke alarm fitted?

We want every home in Essex to be provided with the excellent protection that smoke alarms offer. Smoke alarms can alert you or a neighbour/passerby to a fire and give you a chance to escape your home safely.

To arrange your FREE fitting, call 0300 303 0088 or visit

Could you be an on-call firefighter?

As well as being a Operational and Community Risk Manager during the day, Nick Singleton also works at Frinton Fire Station. Frinton Fire Station are currently recruiting for on-call firefighters.

So if you live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station you could be an on-call firefighters and get paid to protect your local community.

To find out more about the role and how you can apply, visit:

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