FIREFIGHTERS are tackling more blazes which have started in the kitchen during lockdown.

Over the weekend alone, crews from Barrow and Walney were called to two separate fires with near identical causes.

On average eight kitchen fires per month have been reported in the Furness area over the last half year.

Roger Exley, who attended both incidents, said people needed to take more care when cooking in the kitchen.

He said fires can start when people become distracted while cooking, either by falling asleep, watching TV or being under the influence of alcohol.

He said: “It’s not just in Barrow, it’s across the whole of the county that we are seeing an increase in kitchen fires, hence the reason why this month nationally we are pushing cooking safety.

“What we are finding, particularly during Covid, is that while people are at home more, there is an increase in fires in the kitchen.

“As it is the most at risk area in the home this is understandable.

"We found that a lot of people are becoming distracted while cooking, either falling asleep, watching TV or being under the influence of alcohol.

“As people can’t get takeaway as much as they used to, sometimes people come home late and try and cook something.

“Fire detection and smoke alarms are giving people an early indication of danger and hopefully that is saving lives. But not everyone has one. At the same time, there’s a trend of fires in this area and we hope this does not lead to serious injuries or death.

“Set timers on your cooking. Those with elderly relatives should check on them around mealtimes and if you can install a smoke alarm do so. Stop and think while cooking, and don’t get distracted.

“There are far out reaching consequences for this. Even a little fire can fill the home with smoke. It can render the house uninhabitable and force people to leave their homes. If you have to receive hospital treatment it increases the risk of Covid, particularly endangering those who have issues breathing.”