A chef from South Yorkshire who fell asleep leaving cooking on the hob says he was lucky to be alive after his home caught fire.
Ex-professional chef Allan Pond, from Barnsley, woke to find firefighters in the front room of his smoke-filled home on Saville Road, Gilroyd, after falling asleep with a pan of aubergines cooking on a hob.
Luckily a neighbour had heard his smoke alarm and rang 999.
Allan, aged 59, who has spent more than 30 years working as a chef in top hotels and on cruise ships, wasn’t seriously injured but said the experience had made him think twice about cooking when tired.
He said: “I had not slept the previous night but I refuse to use this as an excuse.
“I am annoyed with myself for taking up the fire crew’s time and this has been a major wake-up call for me.
“In future, if I am tired, I will do what the fire crew suggested and send out for some chips.”
South Yorkshire Fire Service’s head of community safety Kevin Ronan said: “Allan isn’t the first person to fall asleep after cooking and sadly he won’t be the last, but thankfully he had a fully working smoke alarm which alerted a neighbour.
“Cooking is the single biggest cause of house fires and unfortunately these blazes can spread very quickly. Our advice is to never cook when feeling tired or after drinking alcohol as you can easily become distracted or fall asleep.”
The fire service has launched a new campaign called Kitchen Nightmares which aims to reduce cooking blazes across South Yorkshire. Residents are being urged to clean ovens and grills to avoid fat building up, never leave cooking unattended, switch off equipment after use, ditch old fashioned chip pans, and buy a takeaway rather than cook if they’ve been drinking.
* Visit YouTube - South Yorkshire Fire Service, Kitchen nightmares to see the service’s Kitchen Nightmares video.