A FIRE that wrecked a Stafford flat was caused by an unattended chip pan.
The first floor flat off School Lane, Rickerscote, was left uninhabitable by the blaze on Wednesday afternoon.
The flat resident managed to escape the fire but attempted to tackle it himself first, sustaining a minor burn and smoke inhalation in the process.
He had turned on the chip pan and began cooking but went to another room to answer his phone, the Fire Service has said.
He was alerted to the blaze by his smoke alarms and firefighters from Stafford, Rising Brook, Gnosall and Penkridge were called to the fire at around 3.50pm.
Residents in surrounding flats were also evacuated whilst firefighters dealt with the fire.
Station Manager Ian Housley said: "Community spirit was evident; the man had already checked no one was still inside the flats on his floor then he and other occupants provided firefighters with vital information regarding other residents. That meant we were able to quickly establish that no one was in danger of becoming trapped inside.
"The important message here is to look when you cook – never leave cooking unattended, stay in the kitchen until you’re finished. We would also encourage the use of deep fat fryers instead of chip pans as these are thermostatically controlled meaning they do not overheat like a chip pan quite easily can.
"We strongly urge people never to tackle fires themselves, instead close the door if possible then get out and stay out."
Earlier this year Staffordshire Fire Service re-launched its annual cooking safety campaign. It was created in the wake of statistics that revealed over half of all house fires start in the kitchen.