A BARNSLEY woman whose dad died in a kitchen blaze is backing a new fire service campaign to stress the importance of fire safety when cooking.
Linda Scarfe, aged 31, from Granville Street, Old Town, lost her 66-year-old father Ray when fire ripped through his home on Summer Lane, Barnsley, nearly two years ago.
A chip pan burst into flames and fire ripped through his home.
She said: “The effect my dad’s death has had on the family for the last two years has been indescribable. He’s left three children without a dad, three grandchildren without a grandad, a wife without a husband,” he said.
“Our mum was abroad at the time but she got the first plane back as soon as my brother gave her the news. I thought she’d make things better, like mums do, but, of course, she was just as traumatised as the rest of us.
“He was my world, my life, my buddy, my best mate. Most of the photos of him were destroyed in the fire, but I still cling to anything that was his, that he touched. Anything that helps me remember him.
“I’m getting married this summer and, though I know he’ll be looking down on me, I wish he was giving me away.
“I just want to ask ‘dad, look at all this upset you’ve caused’ or ‘dad, why did you put on that chip pan?’. But I know he didn’t mean for all this and I know it doesn’t make any difference now.”
“If any good at all can come from my dad’s death it’s that it may remind people they are not invincible, it can happen to them, but it can be prevented.
“Putting on the chip pan, especially after a few drinks, is still so normal to some people, but is so stupid.
“But my dad was not a stupid man. He was very well-educated with a sharp mind. He was also perfectly fit and perfectly healthy, yet this one, seemingly small action, cost him his life.
“I just miss my dad so much.”
South Yorkshire Fire Service says it has dealt with around 1,300 cooking related fires since 2007 and three people have died.
Steve Makepeace, head of community safety, said: “Cooking is by far and away the biggest cause of accidental fires in the home. Many are minor incidents but hundreds more result in injuries and even deaths every year.
“We’re asking people to take kitchen safety seriously and consider, perhaps as a family, establishing a mealtime routine, which follows some basic principles which will reduce the risk of a fire in your home.
“Linda’s story is a tragic one and unfortunately, unless people begin taking safer cooking seriously, the next tragedy could be only a matter of time.”