Restaurant and takeaway owners are being urged to clean their extractor fans thoroughly and regularly following a spate of fires in commercial kitchens.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is also calling for businesses to service and maintain their ventilation systems including extractor fans and flues.
The warning follows a fire which gutted the Planet Bollywood restaurant in Glebe Street, Stoke-on-Trent, and damaged neighbouring properties on August 27. It is believed to have been caused by the extractor fan in the kitchen accidentally catching fire – causing flames to rise up the shaft and into the roof.
A previous blaze broke out in the ground floor kitchen of a takeaway premises in Ruxley Road, Bucknall, on August 9. The chef was preparing food for evening business using a wok on a hob.
A fire also caused damage to the Malt Shovel public house, Lower Lane, Chorley, on August 7. Fire broke out in the kitchen area of the building and spread to the roof space of a single storey extension at the rear.
Hanley Fire Station Watch Manager Mark Hall said: “The recent fires at eateries were accidental but could have been avoided by some simple maintenance checks.
“I would urge other restaurants and takeaway owners to take measures so they don’t also become victims of this type of incident. Ensure that cookers, extractor fans and cooker hoods are clean – when oil residue is hot, it can quickly and easily ignite causing extensive damage.
“The extraction system should also be checked on a regular basis and all members of staff should be fully aware of the fire safety plan, should an emergency occur. Following this straight forward advice, could not only save businesses, it could save lives.”
More information on fire safety in commercial kitchens can be found at www.hvca.org.uk