Chip pan caused death of Bestwood man


​A chip pan caused the death of a Bestwood man during a fire, an inquest heard.

Mr Ben Williams, aged 30, was house sitting for a friend when he is thought to have returned from a party and cooked chips using a chip pan on the hob, which was later involved in fire.

Assistant Coroner for Nottinghamshire, Mrs Heidi Connor, heard of how Mr Williams died from inhaling smoke and fire gases following the fire on 4 December 2017.

The inquest heard that the kitchen was severely damaged by fire, and that the most likely scenario leading to the death of Mr Williams was that he became distracted while cooking, something which Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like others to be aware of in their home fire safety routine.

Returning her conclusion of accidental death, Mrs Connor heard evidence from Fire Investigation and Arson Reduction Officer, Lucie Poxon, who attended the scene and explained that Mr Williams would have quickly become unconscious due to the smoke produced from the fire.

Mrs Connor, said: "I would like to acknowledge that this is such a sad loss of a very young man.

"These circumstances which led to the death of a young man whose family have explained him as 'happy go lucky' are incredibly tragic and I would like to offer my condolences to the friends and family of Mr Williams.

"I am satisfied that the most likely scenario is that Mr Williams returned from a party in the early hours of the morning of 4 December and decided to cook a meal using a chip pan, which unfortunately resulted in a fire.

"This case particularly highlights the dangers of cooking using oil and becoming distracted and I would like to urge others to be aware of these circumstances."

Following the conclusion of the inquest, NFRS has taken the opportunity to refresh the safety messages surrounding cooking.

Station Manager Tom Clark, said: "Firstly on behalf of the Service, I would like to express our condolences to the friends and family of Mr Williams.

"Almost one year ago I attended an inquest of another young gentleman who died as a result of becoming distracted by cooking following drinking alcohol, and I cannot stress enough that it is very important to keep an eye on your cooking, as sadly, incidents like this can happen very quickly.

"We know that when you are in your own home you will naturally do as you please, but if just one person takes note of this tragic case and changes their routine because of it, that will be one more person aware of the dangers.

"We are by no means discouraging cooking with oil, but would instead like to reinforce that there are safe ways to do this.

"If you have been drinking, it is best not to attempt cooking, but should you do this, please make every effort you can to not become distracted. Other alternatives are getting a takeaway or even using a thermostat controlled deep fat fryer to regulate the cooking process. Remember, when attention stops, fire starts."

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has a range of advice on cooking safely:

  • Never fill a pan more than one third full of oil.
  • Never cook under the influence of alcohol or drugs as this can impair your judgement.
  • Keep cooking appliances clean and away from flammable items such as curtains and tea towels.
  • If a fire does occur in your property, get out, stay out and call 999.

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