A FIRE that started in a chip pan has completely destroyed a kitchen.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service was called to an address in Komberg Crescent, Canvey this evening to put out a kitchen fire.

The fire had begun in a chip pan and the owner had tried to put a wet towel over it to extinguish the flames - to no avail.

Shortly after arriving at 6.28pm, the firefighters quickly put the fire out and stopped the fire spreading beyond the kitchen.

Watch Manager Gary Clarke said: "The oocupant had put the chip pan on the hob and left it for a short time. But even in that short amount of time, the oil had overheated and caught alight.

"The occupant then put a wet tea-towel on the fire thinking that would be the right thing, but in fact you should never put any sort of water or damp towel on hot oil.

"It's common misconception that a damp tea towel should be used on cooking fires, but we want everyone to know that if you have a fire while cooking, the safest thing to do it to get out, stay out and call the fire service out."

The fire service has issued the following advice for people who are using deep fat fryers: 

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily.
  • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn’t splash.
  • If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer. They can’t overheat.
  • If your pan catches fire, turn off the heat if it is safe to do so. Never throw water over it.