Mum’s kitchen safety appeal

A mum who lost her son in a chip pan blaze is backing a fire brigade campaign to target kitchen fires.

Lynn Ford has been a tireless safety campaigner following the death of son Andrew, 22, around Christmas in 2005.

Cleveland Fire Kitchen Safety Campaign.
From left Karen Hunter, Director of Community Protection Phil Lancaster and Lynn Ford

Cleveland Fire Kitchen Safety Campaign. From left Karen Hunter, Director of Community Protection Phil Lancaster and Lynn Ford

Now she is marking the 10th anniversary of the tragedy by supporting Cleveland Fire Brigade’s latest kitchen fire safety campaign.

Lynn, who originally comes from Owton Manor, in Hartlepool, but now lives in Stockton attended a launch event at Cleveland Fire Brigade’s headquarters in Hartlepool where a hard-hitting video of Lynn telling Andrew’s story was played.

She said: “It is hard but even if it just saves one person it is worth it.

“I wouldn’t like another mum or dad to sit where I am sat because it is painful.”

It is hard but even if it just saves one person it is worth it

Lynn Ford

Andrew died in December 2005 after coming home from a night out celebrating a friend’s birthday and put an old chip pan on.

But he fell asleep and the whole house in Surbiton Road, Stockton, went up in flames.

Lynn’s other son Christopher, then 18, only survived by jumping out of an upstairs window moments before a big explosion.

Lynn has also helped to persuade hundreds of students not to have a chip pan by attending a series of fire brigade roadshows across Cleveland over the years.

Phil Lancaster, the brigade’s director of community protection, said: “Lynn is the bravest person I know. She does it to make sure no-one else has to go through this tragedy.”

Almost half of all accidental house fires the brigade was called to in 2015 started in the kitchen including 9 in Hartlepool.

Cooking related fires have fallen by 83% in Cleveland over the last 10 years from 150 in 2005 to 26 in 2015.

But there have still been three chip pan fire deaths since 2005.

The campaign’s safety tips are:

* Never leave cooking unattended;

* Throw away your old chip pan;

* Keep your cooker clean – burnt food can and does cause fires;

* Keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker and hob;

* Don’t let pan handles stick out – they can easily be knocked off;

* If you are going for a night out make a snack before you go out so you do not cook after drinking;

* Oven chips are a safer alternative to cook than frying.