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Mum of twins' warning over kitchen fire at Hestia Way, Kingsnorth, Ashford

A busy mum of twins is warning others after fire ripped through her kitchen when she left a bottle-steriliser on the hob.

Jo Townsend was pre-occupied with looking after seven-month-old twins Maisie and Joshua at home in Ashford, when she heard her smoke alarm sounding.

A mum's kitchen was left badly damaged after a fire began when a steriliser was left on the hob
A mum's kitchen was left badly damaged after a fire began when a steriliser was left on the hob

At first the 35-year-old thought that pans steaming on the hob had triggered the alarm – until she saw her plastic bottle steriliser engulfed in flames.

“I had accidentally left a plastic baby bottle steriliser on the back hob and it caught fire." she said.

"My initial reaction was to think how I could put it out but I didn’t want to waste precious time, especially with the twins in the next room, so I dialled 999. Immediately, I felt panicked and wanted to keep my babies safe.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) rushed to her home in Hestia Way, Kingsnorth at 4.39pm, on Tuesday, March 3. One fire engine attended and crews wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the blaze using hose reel jets.

No one was hurt in the fire but Jo's kitchen was partially destroyed while there was smoke damage to the rest of the house.

It has led Jo and husband Paul, 42, to warn others to keep alert to fire risks within the home.

“Afterwards, I felt embarrassed that I could’ve been so careless,” Jo added. “The firefighters were great. They made me feels safe, and said I reacted well and had done the right thing.

Kent Fire and Rescue rushed to the scene
Kent Fire and Rescue rushed to the scene

“We will definitely be keeping plastic and any other flammable objects away from the hob, and we will make sure the hallways and stairs are kept clear of clutter.

“We all know how busy we are but it’s so important to keep your home safe.”

Colin King, KFRS’ area manager for customer safety and engagement, said: “Mealtimes can be a busy time for families, and often people can find themselves trying to juggle other tasks while trying to cook.

“Unfortunately, over half of all the fires we attend start in the kitchen. You can help to reduce the risk of a fire by following some simple tips; including keeping an eye on your cooking, using a timer to avoid burning your food, never storing or placing household items on your cooker or stove, and keeping your appliances clean.”

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