A MAN who fell asleep while cooking in the early hours was "lucky" to be rescued from his smoke-filled home after neighbours heard his smoke alarm.

Two fire crews from Frinton and Clacton were called to the flat in Spendells Close, Walton, at about 5.40am on Sunday.

They found the flat smoke logged and a man still asleep inside the property.

They led him outside to safety while they dealt with the smoke which was coming from the kitchen.

Nick Singleton, operational and community risk manager at Frinton Fire Station, said they found that food had been left cooking in the oven.

He said: “During the early hours of the morning, this man had started to cook some food, but then made the mistake of leaving the kitchen and falling asleep.

“His smoke alarms actuated, but they didn't wake him up.

“Luckily a neighbour heard the alarm and called 999.

"This incident could have ended much differently, so we would like to remind everyone how dangerous it is to try to cook food late at night and when you are tired.

“Our advice is to get a takeaway or make yourself a sandwich.

“This man has been very lucky, and thanks to his working smoke alarms, we were called before the smoke became too overwhelming or a fire started."

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said more than half of accidental fires at home are started by cooking.

Following the incident, the brigade issued cooking safety advice, including:

  • Do not attempt to cook if you have been drinking or are very tired
  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • 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.