Spate of chimney fires sparks safety warning from firefighters

 
Last updated:
25 June 2015

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 http://nacs.org.uk/ 

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