Paula’s cooker fire
3 MIN READ
‘When I came back into the kitchen the flames were up over the cooker and the fire was already out of control,’ explains Paula Ronan.
Like many people, she had home insurance, but never imagined she’d have to call on it for something like this.
The fat that led to the fire
It was a winter’s evening in January and Paula was at home cooking pork chops, under the electric grill, for the family dinner.
‘They were beautiful, free range, Wexford chops,’ she says.
But, unfortunately, Paula and her daughter didn’t get to eat them. ‘Free range chops have a good bit more fat on them but they are a lot tastier.’
And it was the fat that led to the fire.
It happened so fast
‘It happened very fast,’ she explains.
‘I ran out into the garden for a moment and just in that time fat from the chops below caught on the red hot element.
When I got back, the smoke alarm was going off and there was thick smoke in the kitchen.’
Paula was alone in the house and had to think fast.
‘My initial instinct was to get a tea towel and wet it,’ she explains.
‘I grabbed the handle of the grill which was stupid, really, but I was lucky because the handle was made of a special fire resistant material and it didn’t melt onto my hand.’
She then pulled the burning grill pan and chops out from under the grill.
‘I just threw it down on the floor and threw the wet tea towel on top of the grill pan, chops and everything!’
Luckily, she had a fire blanket
She had dealt with the grill pan blaze but the cooker was still on fire.
Luckily, she had a fire blanket in the kitchen and was able to get that over the cooker and tuck it in around the grill.
‘I was able to stop the fire that way,’ she says.
But there was still choking black smoke filling her house and the smell was ‘absolutely horrendous’.
‘The knobs on the cooker had plastic surrounds and they were all melted and the ceiling above the cooker was all black.’
‘I don’t remember what we ate that night!’
Even the upstairs was full of smoke because there’s no wall between the kitchen and the stairs in Paula’s house.
‘I’m not sure what my daughter and I ate that night,’ she says, trying to recall, ‘but we didn’t have chops!
I’ll be keeping an eye on the cooker from now on
It was a lucky escape.
‘My lesson is always to keep the cooker in sight from now on,’ she says.
‘That fire blanket was an absolute life saver. I
wouldn’t have been able to stop the fire without it, I would have just had to leave it and call the fire brigade.
Thank God, I had it.’
Making her home insurance claim
When Paula and her daughter had cleared everything up as best they could, they found themselves without a cooker to cook the family meals.
Fortunately, Paula had Bank of Ireland home insurance which she’d chosen after a friend recommended it so she phoned the number on her policy.
‘The process was very good, I have to say.
The inspector was courteous on the phone and able to explain the process very clearly.
When he came around to have a look, he was very helpful.’
A successful outcome
‘I’m the kind of person who when I’m going through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel at the airport I still feel like I’m going to be collared even if I have nothing in my bags!’ says Paula.
However, the claims investigator was quickly able to out her mind at ease.
‘He was down to earth, very helpful and practical.
He could see immediately what the problems were and was very straightforward about everything.’
The investigator was able to tell Paula that her claim would be successful and she would be able to get a replacement cooker.
‘Obviously, that was urgent for us so I was delighted with that.’
‘The cheque came quickly’
‘The cheque came quickly for the home insurance claim which I appreciated because it enabled me to get back to normal.
You really miss a cooker when you don’t have one.’
So when she got the cheque, Paula went back to the shop in Kilkenny where she bought her original cooker, thirteen years before, and got a Rangemaster for all her cooking and baking.
A positive ending
I am happy with the insurance I got from Bank of Ireland, they were very good to deal with.
It was a genuinely positive experience.
We’re delighted with the new cooker and more aware of the risks of fire now.
For information about fire safety, visit the Health and Safety Authority website. The ‘golden rules’ of fire safety are:
- Install working smoke alarms and test them regularly
- Make a fire escape plan and practice it often
- Check for fire dangers in your home and correct them
- Carry out a ‘last thing at night routine’ – make closing all doors part of this routine.
Find out more
Our offer applies to new Bank of Ireland Home insurance customers buying a Buildings and Contents insurance policy for owner-occupied or buy-to-let properties. Written proof of your current renewal offer, showing like-for-like cover, is required. If we can’t beat your existing renewal, on a like-for-like basis, the difference plus €50 will be paid back to you within 60 days of your policy start date. Acceptance criteria, terms and conditions apply.
Minimum premium of €231 (inclusive of 5% government levy) applies.
This offer, which ends on the 31st October 2018, is available to new policies, for the first year only and is not available in conjunction with any other offer.
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Paula received a small gratuity for her time spent sharing her story.
All efforts were made to ensure that the information in this article was accurate at the time of original publication. The content of this article do not constitute financial advice.
Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.