South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue - Working For a Safer South Yorkshire

Former Chef’s kitchen safety warning after lucky escape

Allan Pond
05 June 2013

An ex-professional Chef from Barnsley says he’s lucky to be alive after falling asleep with a pan of aubergines cooking on a hob.

Allan Pond woke to find Barnsley firefighters in the front room of his smoke-filled home on Saville Road, Gilroyd, after a neighbour dialled 999 on hearing the smoke alarm.

The 59 year-old, who spent more than 30 years working as a Chef in some of the county’s top hotels and onboard cruise ships, wasn’t seriously injured but says the experience has left him wondering what could have happened.

Allan said: “I had not slept the previous night but I refuse to use this as an excuse. I am annoyed with myself for taking up the fire crew’s time and this has been a major wake-up call for me.

“In future if I am tired, I will do what the fire crew suggested and send out for some chips!”

SYFR’s Head of Community Safety Kevin Ronan said: “Allan isn’t the first person to fall asleep after starting to cook and sadly he won’t be the last, but thankfully he had a fully working smoke alarm which alerted a neighbour.

“Cooking is the single biggest cause of house fires and unfortunately these blazes can spread very quickly. Our advice is to never cook when feeling tired or after drinking alcohol as you can easily become distracted or fall asleep.”

The incident comes as the fire service launches a Kitchen Nightmares campaign, which aims to reduce cooking blazes across South Yorkshire.

Advice being given to residents includes:

·         Clean out ovens and grills regularly to avoid a build up of fat and grease

·         Never leave cooking unattended and switch off equipment after use

·         Ditch old fashioned chip pans, use oven chips or thermostat controlled fryers instead

·         Don’t attempt to cook if you’ve been out drinking, buy a takeaway instead

SYFR has also produced a video featuring kitchen safety tips. Visit to view it, or for more information on staying safe in the kitchen visit