FIREFIGHTERS are urging residents to give their kitchens a spring clean following a series of blazes being fuelled by grease, dirt and untidy surfaces.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has joined forces with the Electrical Safety Council charity after seeing numerous cases of “grime fires” spreading due to excess fat in cooking appliances, such as deep fat fyers.

Over the past year, the brigade has also linked numerous major domestic fires to clutter stored by heat sources catching fire, or by dirt, dust and crumbs blocking ventilation and causing products to overheat.

The brigade’s group manager Peter Hudson said it was difficult to quantify the number of grime fires in the county as many were initially sparked by other sources.

He said grime fires were often caused by hidden dirt or overlooked mess.

Mr Hudson said: “We have recently attended fires where flames from a toaster spread to a build-up of grease on a cupboard where a deep-fat fryer was stored, another where a microwave overheated due to papers stacked up on the vent and one in which a cooker hood fan overheated after being clogged up with fat.

“While people used to conduct an annual spring clean, I appreciate it can now be hard to stay on top of household chores with busy work and life schedules, particularly for families with young children.

“We are regularly called to fires in the home that start in the kitchen, so cleaning and tidying them could save a lot of heartache for house owners.”

An Electrical Safety Council study published yesterday (Tuesday, September 24) found 21,036 out of 37,061 house fires in Britain last year were sparked by kitchen appliances.

A third of the 2,050 people surveyed could not remember the last time their oven or the area behind their fridge was cleaned.

One in seven admitted to regularly blocking vents with objects, and one in ten said they left flammable items next to heat sources.

An Electrical Safety Council spokeswoman said: “Grime can often build up without you realising, so you might think you have a clean kitchen, but if you look closer there can be an electrical fire waiting to happen.”

For tips on avoiding grime fires, visit