A mum-of-two is warning others to keep their hobs clean and clear after a fire broke out at her family home

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A mum-of-two is warning others to keep their hobs clean and clear after a fire broke out at her family home.

Jo Townsend was playing with her seven-month-old twins, Maisie and Joshua, at their house in Ashford, when she heard their smoke alarm sounding.

The 35-year-old assumed the alarm had been set off by steam from dinner cooking on the hob, but she soon realised flames were coming from a plastic steriliser that had caught alight.

Jo said: “I had accidentally left a plastic baby bottle steriliser on the back hob and it caught fire.

“My initial reaction was to think how I could put it out but I didn’t want to waste precious time, especially with the twins in the next room, so I dialled 999. Immediately, I felt panicked and wanted to keep my babies safe.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to the home in Hestia Way at 4.39pm, on Tuesday, 3 March. One fire engine attended and crews wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the blaze using hose reel jets.

Thankfully, no one was hurt but the fire caused significant damage to the kitchen and smoke damage to the rest of the house.

Following the incident, Jo and husband Paul, 42, are urging others to be more aware of fire risks within the home.

“Afterwards, I felt embarrassed that I could’ve been so careless,” Jo added. “The firefighters were great. They made me feels safe, and said I reacted well and had done the right thing.

“We will definitely be keeping plastic and any other flammable objects away from the hob, and we will make sure the hallways and stairs are kept clear of clutter.

“We all know how busy we are but it’s so important to keep your home safe.”

Colin King, KFRS’ Area Manager for Customer Safety and Engagement, said: “Mealtimes can be a busy time for families, and often people can find themselves trying to juggle other tasks while trying to cook.

“Unfortunately, over half of all the fires we attend start in the kitchen. You can help to reduce the risk of a fire by following some simple tips; including keeping an eye on your cooking, using a timer to avoid burning your food, never storing or placing household items on your cooker or stove, and keeping your appliances clean.”