A man was lucky to escape with his life from a chip pan fire in his Hartlepool home today.
Fire crews from the town were called to Wynyard Mews in the Owton Manor area in the early hours of the morning after neighbours heard the smoke alarm going off.
Watch Manager, Andy Hardy, said they were called to the house at around 2.30am by the concerned neighbours.
He said the man, believed to be in his 40s, had returned home from a night out and had put the chip pan on to cook before falling asleep in the living room.
Police and firecrews attended the scene and were banging on the doors and windows to wake the man.
Watch Manager Hardy said: “We were just about the break the door down when he managed to get up and out of the house. All the banging must have woken him.
“He is one very lucky man to be here today.”
Just two weeks ago Cleveland fire brigade dealt with a fire in Norton, believed to have been caused by ‘unattended cooking’ where a 30-year-old woman died.
Mr Hardy said this could easily have been the case at the Hartlepool fire this morning had the neighbours not raised the alarm in time. Instead the householder suffered just mild smoke inhilation.
He said: “We tell people time and time again just don’t put chip pans on after a night out. In fact, throw them out and then people won’t be tempted.
“If you have been for a night out just get something to eat on the way home. If you have had a drink just come in and go straight to bed and don’t even think about putting the chip pan on.”