Kitchen mess is major fire cause in Edinburgh

A messy kitchen could be a fire hazard. Picture: TSPL
A messy kitchen could be a fire hazard. Picture: TSPL
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AROUND one in six Edinburgh residents have had a fire scare caused by a dirty or messy kitchen, according to a new study.

The research by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is aimed at highlighting how people are putting their home at risk of a “grime fire” by failing to clean their kitchens properly.

Fat in cooking appliances, clutter stored near heat sources, and dirt, dust and crumbs blocking vents are all being highlighted as risks by the ESC and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as part of Electrical Fire Safety Week.

In the study carried out last month, a third of city residents said they could not remember the last time they cleaned their oven or behind their fridge, and around 16 per cent admitted a fire had broken out.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, director of prevention and protection with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Leaving cooking unattended, or cooking under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are major causes of kitchen fires. Build up of grime in ovens, toasters and grills also significantly increases the chance of fire.

“We recommend you make time at least once a year to clean out any ventilation systems you use in your kitchen, as well as the space behind fridges and freezers.”

The ESC survey found 10 per cent of city residents confessed they are too lazy to clean as well as they should. One in seven acknowledged leaving flammable items next to heat sources. Families are particularly hard-pushed for time, with a quarter of people admitting family demands make it difficult to keep a clean house.

Emma Apter, from the ESC, added: “People are increasingly busy and have so much going on it’s easy for cleaning to take a backseat, but a build up of grime, dust and even food crumbs in kitchen appliances can cause fires or stop them working. Grime can often build up without you realising, so you might think you have a clean kitchen but if you look closer there can be an electrical fire waiting to happen.”

New figures also revealed firefighters attended 598 blazes in homes in Edinburgh between last April and March. The Leith Walk and Sighthill/Gorgie wards recorded the highest number with 69 each.