AN ELDERLY woman has vowed never to use a chip pan again
after suffering a fire because of one in her home at the
The blaze was one of two chip pan fires in Oldham at the weekend
that has prompted Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to
step-up its Ban the Pan campaign in the borough.
Catherine Dunn, whose fire was the second in the same town in
just 24 hours, is now a supporter of the drive to ban the pan.
Firefighters and community safety staff will be out in the
community this week to make sure others get the message, ditch
their chip pans in favour of safer ways of cooking and are safer in
their homes and kitchens generally.
The 83-year-old was cooking chips at her home on Thorp View,
Royton, at about 6.30pm on Sunday, June 17, when the chip pan burst
Catherine thought she had turned the stove off and is testament
to how just one lapse in concentration can lead to a fire.
She said: "I've not had chips in a long time so I thought I'd
make myself some. I was positive I'd turned the gas off before I
went to sit down but I mustn't have done.
"I feel so stupid, it was such a daft error - I'm still full of
tablets from being in hospital recently and perhaps I wasn't as
careful as I normally am."
Firefighters were called out to the flat at 6.40pm after smoke
alarms in Catherine's house sounded and made her aware of the
She tried to tackle it herself at first by throwing a tea towel
over the flames - which just burned through.
Both crews from Chadderton Fire Station attended and two
firefighters in breathing apparatus went in, tackled the blaze with
a fire blanket and then used a fan to clear smoke from the
A GMFRS trauma technician treated Catherine at the scene with
oxygen because she inhaled smoke while trying to tackle the fire
but she declined the offer of being taken to hospital to be checked
Damage was limited to the pan and cooker because of the early
warning the smoke alarms gave Catherine and she is adamant that she
will not be using a chip pan again. She said: "You must be joking!
A lesson has been learned - my family are going to get me a deep
The incident has left Catherine's family and neighbours feeling
worried so firefighters did some work that evening to reassure and
advise them on how they could be safer.
The earlier incident happened at 6.45pm on Saturday, June 16,
both crews from Oldham Fire Station were called to a fire at Daisy
Hill Court, Waterhead, Oldham.
Firefighters discovered a woman in her 70s had left her chip pan
unattended and gone back to find it on fire.
The woman had taken the chip pan off the stove and put it
outside before crews arrived at the scene.
Crews and GMFRS staff were due to go back to the area on
Tuesday, June 19, to speak to residents on their door steps and at
a regular community bingo session to talk to them about safety in
the home, cooking safely and carry out Home Safety Checks.
Area Manager Dave Keelan, GMFRS' Head of Prevention Services,
said: "We're glad that Catherine seems to be alright following her
ordeal and delighted that she's vowed never to use a chip pan
"We want everyone to do the same - please stop using chip pans
as they are incredibly dangerous and have the potential to start a
deadly fire if left unattended for just a few minutes.
"This also highlights just how valuable a working smoke alarm
is: it does not bear thinking about what might have happened to
Catherine if she had not had the quick warning her alarms gave her.
If you do discover a fire, please don't try to tackle it yourself:
get out, call 999 and stay out."
For a free Home Safety Check, which may include the fitting of
smoke alarms, please contact Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
Service on 0800 555 815 or visit
* The GMFRS Kitchen Fire Safety Unit was at Oldham Fire
Station on June 19 to demonstrate how lethal a chip pan fire can