Chimney fires spark warning

A SERIES of chimney fires in Essex has forced the county's fire service to remind residents of the precautions to take to ensure their homes are safe.

A SERIES of chimney fires in Essex has forced the county's fire service to remind residents of the precautions to take to ensure their homes are safe.

It is thought that with the onset of colder weather and rising fuel costs many homes with open fireplaces are using wood and coal to heat their homes this winter.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service dealt with incidents at houses in Pebmarsh, near Halstead, and Tiptree last week that both started inside chimneys.

Both fires were quickly extinguished and nobody was injured, but senior divisional officer Paul Bowers has warned that a chimney fire could be potentially devastating, despite being easily preventable.


You may also want to watch:


He called on homeowners who have burning fires to sweep their chimneys “at least once a year” and even more frequently for those who have burning fires where more soot builds up inside.

SDO Bowers said: “We have seen a real increase in the number of chimney fires this winter and in some cases they can cause real devastation, especially in thatched cottages.

Most Read

“Anyone who uses a real fire needs to take precautions because these fires are preventable. Regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues will help to eliminate the build-up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas-fired systems.

“It also clears obstructions such as birds nests, leaves and debris.”

He said that by taking a few simple precautions people could make sure that they and their homes were safe.

Advice includes:

nChimneys using smokeless fuel or bituminous coal/oil should be swept at least once a year.

nChimneys using wood should be swept quarterly when in use.

nEnsure a fireguard is in front of the fire at all times, sparkguards can prevent a serious property fire.

nExtinguish fires before going to bed or leaving the house.

nDo not light fires using flammable liquids, such as petrol or paraffin.

nDo not burn paper or rubbish on fires in the grate.

nGo into the loft occasionally to check the chimney when the fire is alight.

nCheck for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints.

For more information about home fire safety visit www.essex-fire.net.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus