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Mother and daughter escape kitchen fire unharmed

Firefighters broke into a house in Caversham to stop a fire from taking hold after a mother and daughter fell asleep with cooking on the hob.

At 6.24am on Tuesday 11 July, Thames Valley Fire Control Service received reports of a fire in the kitchen of a house in Mayfield Drive, Caversham.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews from Caversham Road, Wokingham Road and Dee Road Fire Stations were sent to the scene.

As no one was responding when they banged on the door, firefighters had to get inside the house using an extension ladder through a window. In the kitchen they found food had been left cooking on the hob so they removed the pans and switched off the power.

A neighbour dialled 999 to alert firefighters after they smelled burning coming from the house next door. There was a smoke alarm in the property but it had been incorrectly fitted so did not activate.

Fortunately the damage was limited to the pan, and mother and daughter were uninjured.

Crews were at the scene for about 30 minutes and following the incident they installed two new smoke alarms.

Watch Manager James Dowd, from the crew that attended from Caversham Road Fire Station, said: “This incident reinforces the importance of never leaving cooking unattended.

“If you’re tired after a long day or if you’ve been drinking or taking medication, our advice is not to cook. If you lose your attention, a fire could easily spread and it could have damaging consequences: for you, your friends and your family.

“We also strongly advise you to check your smoke alarms once a week if possible, to make sure they can be there for you in your time of need.”

For more information about cooking safely and fitting smoke alarms in your home so that they alert you if a fire does start, please go to