Spate of chimney fires sparks safety warning from firefighters


Three chimney fires in less than 8 hours have sparked a safety warning from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

Yesterday (January 21) firefighters were called out to 3 separate chimney fires in Warninglid, Henfield and Bognor Regis within the space of just 8 hours. Thankfully, crews were able to extinguish the blazes quickly, but chimney fires can be devastating.

Chimney fires are one of the most frequent incidents attended by West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. Firefighters attended 128 chimney fires across the county last year (January 1 - December 31 2014).

Watch Commander Jon Etherington, whose crew extinguished a chimney fire at a cottage on Shripney Road in Bognor yesterday evening, said:

"The weather has turned considerably colder recently so some people are lighting their open fires and wood burners for the first time this winter. Unfortunately, we're seeing a rise in chimney fires as a result.

"Most chimney fires are preventable. They are usually caused by a build-up of coal soot or wood tar deposits so regular professional sweeping of your chimney flue removes those deposits and reduces the risk of a fire."

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service advice on reducing the risk of a chimney fire:

  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood
  • When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods from reputable suppliers
  • If you have a wood burner, always follow the manufacturer's recommendations on fuel loading and air flow
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire
  • Do not overload the grate or appliance
  • Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires
  • Ensure the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house
  • Install a smoke alarm on each level of your property and test them regularly             

To find your local chimney sweep, contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on freephone 0800 833464 or 

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Last updated:
6 February 2018

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