A TREMAR man says he's lucky to be alive after a chip pan fire swept through his kitchen while he and his 17-year-old stepson were upstairs.
Steve Mason, who is the managing director of a training company, was on the computer in his study when the kitchen caught alight on Saturday, October 27.
"If it wasn't for the smoke alarms I wouldn't be here to talk about it," explained the 46-year-old.
The fire started after a chip pan was left unattended on the stove.
"It wasn't until I heard the alarms that I realised there might be a problem but they often go off when you're cooking so it didn't really click at first," he said.
"I went downstairs and there was smoke everywhere and the kitchen was alight."
"My instincts just kicked in," he said. "My stepson was in the house and I had to get the pets out too. The cats and dogs panicked and I had to chase them around the house to get them out."
Steve has completed fire training as part of his job and managed to extinguish the flames in the pan.
"I think it would have been terrifying for somebody who has never been trained," he said.
"I managed to put it out and thought that was the end of it."
Although the fire in the kitchen had been extinguished, the flames had spread through the ceiling into the bathroom.
"I didn't realise that flames had gone up the flume from the cooker extractor," he said.
Steve called the fire brigade who arrived on the scene within ten minutes.
"They did quite well to get there in that time considering Liskeard is a retained station," he said.
Two fire crews were called to the house to extinguish the fire. The fire has left the house uninhabitable and the majority of the family's possessions have been damaged.
"It's the damage caused by the smoke and toxins which is the problem," he said. "Everything has been ruined.
"Even the beds upstairs that were well away from the fire will need replacing because of the toxic fumes," he said.
A spokesman for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: "More than half of all house fires in Cornwall start in the kitchen, many of which are caused by cooking being left unattended."
She added: "If you are in any doubt about whether to try and put out a chip pan fire yourself, then don't – leave the room, close the door and dial 999."