Teenager escapes burns in chip pan fireball

PUBLISHED: 12:59 05 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:25 26 October 2009

A TEENAGE girl narrowly escaped serious burns after a fireball engulfed her kitchen. The panicked 14-year-old, of Orchard Way in Knebworth, tried to tackle a chip pan fire by throwing water onto it on Friday, sparking the ball of flames. She had left the

A TEENAGE girl narrowly escaped serious burns after a fireball engulfed her kitchen.

The panicked 14-year-old, of Orchard Way in Knebworth, tried to tackle a chip pan fire by throwing water onto it on Friday, sparking the ball of flames.

She had left the saucepan of oil on the gas hob unattended and only returned to see the fire after she smelt smoke.

She then ran upstairs to find her cat, but by the time she did the blaze had trapped her because she couldn't see through the dense smoke.

Fortunately there was a phone on the first floor to call the fire service at about 9.30am and she was forced onto an outside roof to await help.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service control operators advised and reassured the girl all the time on the phone.

Meanwhile fire crews from Stevenage and WGC arrived, and found the fire had taken hold of the ground floor of the semi-detached house.

They used two sets of breathing apparatus, a jet and a hose reel to put the fire out whilst the girl was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Sub officer Graeme Cheshire from Stevenage fire station said: "This was a very serious incident which could have had fatal consequences.

"I would urge people to take extra care when using a chip pan and never leave them unattended.

"By throwing water into the fire, the girl caused a fireball which could have caused her serious burns, if not worse."

The kitchen was gutted and the remainder of the house severely smoke-damaged.

He added: "I would also advise people to leave their property as soon as they discover a fire and let us deal with it.

"Never re-enter your property, even to rescue pets, as you could be putting your life at risk.

A neighbour who wished not to be named said: “There was an enormous amount of black smoke. I could see the smoke behind the glass and it just looked wrong to me.

“I was just about to call 999 when I saw the young girl on the roof.

“It’s tragic. I went inside the house with the girl to get her some clothes and I had never seen so much smoke damage.

“Fortunately the girl was safe but she could have been killed.”

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