CHICKEN legs left in an oven sparked a blaze that gutted a couple’s newly refurbished kitchen.
A neighbour had called in to look after Ronald and Bethan Jones’s tropical fish when he decided to cook himself a chicken dinner.
But he left the oven unattended while he went to feed the fish. The fire broke out when burning pieces of fat fell onto the floor at the house in Wrexham.
Flames licked out of the cooker, setting a nearby coat on fire and eventually destroying the kitchen.
Mr and Mrs Jones were out when the fire broke after the neighbour accidentally sparked the blaze at their home on Grynydd, Ponciau, on Monday at 7.50pm.
Yesterday fire officers warned of the dangers of leaving cooking unwatched and urged people to keep stoves clean of grease and fat.
Retired probation officer 65-year-old Mr Jones said: “He (the neighbour) is a tropical fish enthusiast and he generally looks after our fish for us. We were out and he decided to do some chicken legs.
“He went to attend to the fish but then he saw smoke pouring out of the kitchen. Flames were coming out of the oven and fat falling on to the floor in flames.
“One of my coats is close by and that was on fire.”
The neighbour ran out of the house and another neighbour rang the fire brigade. Mr and Mrs Jones got home to find the blaze had spread to the porch.
“We could see the smoke all over and there were flames coming out of the house,” said Mr Jones.
“We don't know why the fire started – it may have been a dodgy thermostat.”
The couple were just finishing off a kitchen refurbishment when the fire broke out, and recently spent £200 on new appliances.
Mr Bailey was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Mr and Mrs Jones have had to move out of the house while repairs are carried out. Yesterday North Wales Fire and Rescue chiefs said there were no fire alarms fitted. Ian Williams of NWFR said: “This incident once again highlights the dangers of leaving cooking unattended.
“The cooking device involved also had a build up of fat on the bottom of the tray – it is important to keep ovens and grillpans clean, as grease or fat and crumbs can also ignite when heated.
“In just a few minutes, a small fire can develop into a life threatening one.”