A PENSIONER had a “lucky escape” after his air fryer burst into flames whilst cooking oven chips.
James Cooper, 76, said he was left “totally shocked” after his popular Tower cooker caught fire whilst making dinner.
The fire burned for under 10 seconds before James – who lives alone – was able to place the flaming cooker in his garden and extinguish the blaze.
The pensioner said: “I was cooking oven chips, which is exactly what it was designed to do.
“My fryer was only used three or four times a week and had a very easy life, really.
“At first I thought I had spilt something onto the gas burner because I could smell intense burning.
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“It was a complete surprise to see it was the fryer itself that was on fire.
“It didn’t burn for very long but the smell stuck around for a while afterwards.
He added: “I was really fortunate to be right by it when it went and I could stop it and take it outside very quickly. But not everyone who has one would’ve been able to do that.”
James, from Cheltenham, claims manufacturer Tower – which sells 23 different types of air fryers – told him to simply return the device and claim a refund.
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The retired building surveyor said: “I think with issues like this where it actually catches fire they should be looking at issuing a recall.”
The kitchen gadget – which sells for anywhere between £30 and £200 has swept the nation as a low-cost cooking alternative – with gas and electric prices spiking due to the cost of living crisis.
Research last year found sales of the cooker soared by 3000% – with the device costing just £55 a year to run, compared to electric cookers which can see users cough up more than £350 a year.
But James said the fiery incident had put him off using the budget kitchen tool.
He said: “I would never buy another one and I’ve told my grandson to throw his out because you never know what could happen.
“It could have been so much worse. I was horrified when I looked online and saw images of other people’s fryers.”
Fire service stats show air fryers ignited 37 fires in 2022 – double the figure from 2021.
Earlier this year Manchester mum Rebecca Sim’s kitchen was almost burned down after the fryer nearly fried her.
The 52-year-old from Prestwich, Greater Manchester, said a small flame quickly became an “inferno” as she threw the gadget outside.
The retired teacher, who has multiple sclerosis, said: “I was really shocked… Thank God I didn’t leave it – it could have burned the kitchen down.
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“It was a really nasty experience that could have been far, far worse without my quick-thinking.”
Tower have been contacted for comment.
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