AN EIGHT-year-old girl came to her grandparents' rescue when she calmly phoned the fire brigade while her granddad battled a chip pan fire.

Quick-thinking Calley How-ard rang 999 and calmly told the control room operator that there was a chip pan fire in her grandparents' house, before reading out the address and telling them to come 'as quick as they can.'

Grateful grandfather Nor-man Pratt suffered superficial burns to his hand and face when he wrongly tackled the fire - the fire brigade stress he should have simply closed the kitchen door and phoned emergency services.

But the 62-year-old covered the chip pan in damp towels, then after leaving it to cool for a matter of seconds, tried to take it outside. It exploded in his face when the pan met the fresh air when he opened the back door.

Fire chiefs say Calley, a pupil at Chester-le-Street's Bullion Lane Primary School, made more sense than many adults when she rang 999 unprompted. Speaking from her grandparents' home in The Green, Chester-le-Street, Calley expl-ained what happened.

"I phoned the fire brigade because there was a fire in the kitchen. I just told them to come quickly, but I wasn't scared. I thought my granddad would be all right, but I was a bit worried about him. I am pleased that I did it and the fire brigade said I did a good job."

Mr Pratt, who was treated for minor burns at Dryburn Hospital following the incident on Saturday, called Calley 'my little nurse.' He added: "She went into the kitchen and said there was a fire, then she immediately got on the phone with no prompting. She even took our dogs and kept them away from the kitchen. We've always told her to ring 999 if there is any trouble, so it's obviously sunk in."

Unfortunately, as divisional officer Ian Docherty points out, the fire service's chip pan message hasn't necessarily done the same.

He said: "Calley was absolutely brilliant - in fact she did better than many grown ups. However, he should have left the fire, closed the kitchen door and called us out - that's what everyone should do.

"We even had our demonstration unit out in Chester-le-Street recently during National Chip Pan Week."