A retired fire chief today admitted breaking ”every rule in the safety book” after he burned down his kitchen – and had to call his former workmates to put it out.
Embarrassed Ronnie Williams, 56, was in the fire service for 30 years and spent his entire career handing out fire safety advice to the public.
But he committed the common mistake of leaving a chip pan unattended, which caught fire and started an inferno in his kitchen.
However, he was unaware the blaze had started because he had breached another golden rule of fire safety – the batteries in his smoke alarms were flat.
Red-faced Ronnie was forced to call 999 and a crew from Helston, Cornwall – the station he ran for 19 years – was dispatched.
They extinguished the fire which caused ”considerable” damage to his kitchen and smoke damage to other rooms throughout the house.
Ronnie admits he ”broke every rule” of fire safety and has warned the public to be careful when using chip pans.
He said: ”It was my own stupidity. I was trying to do five jobs at once and I broke every rule in the fire safety book.
”These included leaving chips cooking in an ordinary pan rather than a thermostatically controlled one and not regularly checking my fire alarms which did not go off.
”I should be setting an example, I know. I have already been teased and facing up to the incident will do me some good.”
Ronnie, a firefighter for 32 years, put the pan of hot oil on to cook his dinner but then got distracted by household chores.
He only realised his kitchen was on fire when his Great Dane dog called Hamlet began barking.
His wife Deborah, 54, a music teacher, said: ”I don’t have to tell Ronnie how stupid he has been because he knows.”
A spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Service said chip pans accounted for nearly 60 per cent of all domestic fires.