A WOMAN was left with severe burns to her face, arms and chest after she attempted to tackle a chip pan fire.

The woman, of Gideons Way, Stanford le Hope, threw water on the blaze instead of waiting for firefighters to arrive.

Once crews from Orsett got to the scene at midday today they spent just 15 minutes safely extinguishing the flames.

The woman was left in need of first aid and trauma care, and was taken to hospital by paramedics.

Sub Officer Kevin Hercock, incident commander, said: "Incidents like this show how dangerous it is to throw water on burning fat. The water causes the fire to flare up and become much larger and in this case the woman was left suffering terrible burns as a result of throwing water on the fire.

"Incidents like this show how quickly an everyday activity like cooking can become extremely dangerous unless care is taken. It is vital that people pay attention when they're cooking and that if a chip pan or frying pan does catch fire that they never ever throw water on it."

The best thing to do if a fire does break out on a pan is to throw a damp tea towel over it, leave the kitchen closing the door behind you, get everyone safely out and dial 999.

More than half the house fires in the county start in the kitchen.