A MAN had a lucky escape after a fire broke out in his kitchen while he was sleeping.

During the early hours of this morning, the man began heating a pan of oil on the hob at his home in Leicester Road, Tilbury, closed the kitchen door, went into another room and fell asleep.

He then woke sometime later and entered the kitchen to find smoke and flames filling the room.

On discovering the fire the man attempted to extinguish it with water, which Essex Fire Service has described as extremely dangerous.

Firefighters stayed on scene after ensuring the fire was completely out to fit smoke alarms to the property.

The kitchen has suffered smoke and fire damage.

Watch Manager Kevin Hercock, of Orsett Fire Station, said: "This whole incident could have ended very differently for so many reasons.

"Firstly, there were no smoke alarms in the property meaning the man was not alerted to the first sign of fire, so he is very lucky that he woke up when he did.

"Secondly, if the man hadn't closed the kitchen door the smoke would have reached him more quickly, possibly before he woke up.

"Finally, the flames could have instantly expanded when he tried to tackle the fire, which is what we would always expect to happen when water is added to a grease fire.

"Any of these factors could have had fatal consequences

"Our number one piece of advice is to fit a smoke alarm on every level of your home, then no matter what happens you'll be alerted to the first sign of fire.

"Never leave cooking unattended either, particularly when cooking with oil, but if for some reason it does ignite then never use water to extinguish it. Always get out, stay out and call 999."

Below is cooking safety advice from Essex Fire Service to stay safe in your kitchen.

  • 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.
  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk
  • Don't have smoke alarms fitted in your home? We'll fit them for free! Visit essex-fire.gov.uk/book or call 0300 303 0088 to arrange your free visit.