Brighton firefighters were called to tackle two kitchen fires at the same student flats within half an hour last night (Monday 12 March).
Paramedics treated a 20-year-old woman after she breathed in smoke from the first fire in the new Stanmer House building on the Sussex University campus at Falmer.
She had tried to put out the fire in a chip pan with a damp tea towel and a fire blanket.
About 50 students were evacuated from the flats at about 9.15pm but one of them left food cooking in another kitchen in the block.
Another fire started as a result and fire crews had to be called out again about half an hour later.
Watch Commander Richard Chamberlain said: “A 20-year-old female student tried to put the fire out using a damp tea towel as well as a fire blanket but had to be treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics at the scene.
“It looked like she attempted to cover the pan with a tea towel as well as a fire blanket and may have even attempted to move the pan which is a big ‘no no’.
“The message we would like to get over to students is if they find a fire then it’s best to evacuate and not tackle it themselves.
“If it is an intensive fire, it will burn through a tea towel very quickly.
“If you discover a fire raise the alarm and evacuate the building immediately.
“This is a fairly new block of student accommodation, with each kitchen shared by half a dozen flats and this (the second fire) involved a different kitchen.
“We would like to remind students that if they are evacuated to ensure they switch off their cooker and turn taps off before leaving the building.
“If they need to evacuate the campus we want to get them in the habit of switching everything off, including taps and ovens, before leaving the accommodation.”
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service staff are expected to offer the students involved with this incident a fire safety talk.