Firefighters were called to kitchen fires started by burning food at houses just a short distance apart this afternoon.
Crews from Washington and Birtley were called to a semi-detached house in The Drive in Usworth at 2.45pm after a grill pan caught fire.
The fire was out before they arrived after the householders put a damp cloth over the burning pan.
The blaze left smoke damage to the kitchen.
Another team from Washington was called to neighbouring North Avenue at 3pm when a grill pan in another house caught light.
The people in the house had taken the pan out into the garden and escaped unharmed from the fire and smoke.
A fan was used to clear the house of smoke.