People are being warned of the dangers of leaving chip pans unattended after a dog had to be rescued from a burning house.
Carol Schindler had gone to collect her granddaughters from school, leaving her dog Barry in the house in Millfield, on June 23.
When she returned to to her home Ravensworth Street, she was horrified to see smoke pouring out of her property. Her neighbours were standing outside and had dialled 999.
Two crews from Sunderland Central and Marley Park fire stations responded within four minutes, rescuing Barr,y who was still inside.
The damage to Mrs Schindler’s property was substantial and had spread through her homes, as interior doors had been left open.
The kitchen was severely damaged by fire and the remainder of the house was heavily smoke-logged.
Mrs Schindler said: “It was such a shock to return to my home and see it on fire. I hadn’t even realised the hob was turned on.
"I would urge people to take extra care in the kitchen and move pans off the hob when they are not in use.
Thankfully, we were not harmed, but we could have been. My kitchen has been destroyed and there is smoke damage throughout my home.”
The fire follows two further incidents involving chip pans in the last six weeks.
On Friday, June 3, a fire broke out in a house in Allendale Road, after Patricia Kennedy, 78, forgot to turn off her hob after cooking chips.
When she went to investigate a noise which she thought was a gate banging, she discovered the chip pan on fire, immediately calling 999 and leaving the house.
Firefighters administered oxygen therapy, but Mrs Kennedy did not require further treatment.
And on Saturday, May 28, a chip pan caught fire after it was left unattended at a property in the Redhill area. The occupiers were under the influence of alcohol, at the time, but fortunately, no one was hurt.
In the last five financial years, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service attended 208 fires caused by chip pans and deep fat fryers, 60 of which were in the Sunderland area.
Watch Manager Nicole Mordecai said: "Most house fires occur in the kitchen, and cooking is one of the biggest causes of kitchen fires.
"Leaving a chip pan unattended for just a short time can lead to disastrous results, as the oil can soon overheat and catch fire.
"Always ensure pans are removed from the hob after use, as electric hobs stay hot for some time after they are turned off.
“Our advice would be to switch from a chip pan to oven chips, to help prevent fires from occurring.
"Always make sure you have working smoke alarms fitted on all levels of your home and test them weekly. Keep internal doors closed to reduce the spread of fire.
"In the event of a fire, get out, dial 999 and stay out. Do not try to put a fire out yourself."
For further advice on cooking safely visit www.twfire.gov.uk/cookingsafety, www.facebook.com/twfrs or www.twitter.com/tyne_wear_frs