A CHIP shop owner has spoken of her relief after her family business almost went up in smoke.
Firefighters were called to the Daniela chip shop in Front Street, Boldon, after a blaze in the kitchen.
Scraps of batter, which were left in a waste container, started smouldering after owner Daniela Charlton closed for the night.
When the call came at 10.40pm on Tuesday to say three fire engines were outside the shop, she feared her business might be destroyed.
But her fears were unfounded when she found out the couple in the flat upstairs had called the fire brigade before the blaze could spread.
Luckily there was no fire damage to the shop, which was filled with smoke.
The 55-year-old said: “When I got the call to say there was a fire at the shop my heart skipped a beat.
“All sorts of things were going through my head and I thought that it might be the end of the business.
“I was thinking about what must have happened and worrying about whether I had left a pan on.
“When I found out that it was the batter left in the bin at the end of the night I couldn’t believe it – it was a tiny amount.”
The former florist, whose daughter Veronique and son Carlo work at the shop, always empties the metal bin of hot fat and batter before leaving for the night, but on Tuesday left a small amount in the bottom, which caught fire.