Penrith in the top 10 of house fires caused by an unattended flame

Penrith has come in the top 10 of residential fires in NSW caused by an unattended flame or heat source in 2016.

A total of 88 residential fires were recorded in Penrith last year where a flame or heat source left unattended was the contributing cause, according to figures released by Fire and Rescue NSW.

The total puts Penrith 8th in the state’s top 10, with Blacktown the worst area recording 176 fires.

The news comes as NSW Fire and Rescue warns local residents to ‘keep looking when cooking’ to avoid kitchen fire catastrophes.

FRNSW Community Safety and Research Chief Superintendent Jeremy Fewtrell said kitchen fires accounted for 45 per cent of all residential fires and 34 per cent of injuries in NSW.

“Flames or heat sources being left unattended are the most common cause contributing to kitchen fires,” he said in a statement. “It can take just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.

“To avoid kitchen fire catastrophes, we urge people to “keep looking when cooking”. It’s a simple way to avoid losing your home or even worse, your loved ones or your own life.”

Since the beginning of this year, at least 53 people have been injured in kitchen fires alone.  Burns are tragically significant as they can result in a lifetime of consequences on health and well-being, often needing intensive and ongoing medical intervention and long-term rehabilitation. 

The Keep Looking When Cooking campaign seeks to avoid burn injuries from occurring by maintaining a watch on cooking and preventing an incident from occurring in the first place.

FRNSW recommends the following simple safety checklist for home cooks:

Never leave cooking unattended. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.

  • It takes just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.
  • Don’t put anything metallic in the microwave.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Store flammable items (aerosols, cleaning agents and cooking oil etc) away from heat.
  • Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Keep loose clothing, fabrics, tea towels and curtains away from the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inwards to avoid being knocked or grabbed by children.
  • Keep your oven and rangehood clean. Excess grease and fat can ignite in a fire.
  • Don’t use LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors.
  • Never overload power points or power boards in the kitchen.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.

If your pan catches fire, remember:

  • Never use water to put out a fat or oil fire;
  • Turn off the stove and use the lid to cover the flame;
  • Get out, stay out and call Triple Zero ‘000’.

Number of residential fires in 2016, where a flame or heat source left unattended was the contributing cause:

  1. 176 in Blacktown
  2. 175 in Sydney
  3. 130 in Parramatta
  4. 115 in Liverpool
  5. 100 in Bankstown
  6. 92 in Campbelltown
  7. 89 in Gosford
  8. 88 in Penrith
  9. 86 in Fairfield
  10. 65 in Marrickville