Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Two oven fires in one day: never leave items on top of your hob

Did you know that three quarters of all house fires in Essex start in the kitchen?

This morning (Tuesday 19 March), two separate fires broke out within hours of each other after items that were left on top of the cooker caught alight.

The first incident, in Little Clacton, was caused after the homeowner left a plastic bowl on top of a cooker which was accidentally turned on.

We believe the second incident, in Pilgrims Hatch, was caused after a pet cat turned the cooker on which then caused papers and a bowl to catch alight.

Both properties have suffered some smoke damage.

Watch Manager Ben Turner said: 

"This isn’t the first time we have seen this happen, so whether you're intending to use your cooker or not, my advice would be to never store anything on top of your hob or cooker. 

"It is safest to keep it turned off at the wall so no one could accidentally turn it on.

Are you keeping your kitchen safe?

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to your kitchen.

  • Be careful if you’re wearing loose clothing – it could catch alight.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths well away from the hob.
  • Do not store anything on top of the cooker, even when it's turned off.
  • Never leave cooking pans unattended. If you need to leave the room, take them off the heat or at least turn them down.
  • Make sure saucepan handles aren’t sticking out or in awkward positions where they could be knocked over.

Remember – if a fire breaks out in your kitchen… Get out, stay out and call the fire service out.

Not got a smoke alarm fitted?

We want every home in Essex to be provided with the excellent protection that smoke alarms offer. As in this case, smoke alarms can alert you to a fire and give you a chance to escape your home safely.

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

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