Suffolk: House fires warning after spate of blazes

FIRE chiefs in Suffolk have urged home-owners to remain vigilant after a spate of more than 60 house blazes in the last two months.

The number of chimney and roof blazes since November 1 has reached 65, with the fire service advising Suffolk residents to ensure they look after their homes as a way to prevent the threat of such incidents.

In November there were 25 fires involving chimneys, roofs and Suffolk properties, with a further 45 incidents in December as the winter chill took hold on the county.

Phil Embury, assistant chief fire officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, told the EADT that spate of chimney fires and blazes involving thatched roofs was average for this time of year, but said that incidents could cause devastation.

He said: “For many of the fires we have been called to in the last couple of months, weather has definitely been a factor.

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“The cold weather we have been experiencing has led to people using their woodburners more and turning to solid fuel fires.

“This issue has led to a spate of chimney fires and thatched roof blazes, 90% of which are caused by a failure in a faulty flue or chimney.”

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Mr Embury said that another issue which could be attributed as a cause of the fires was the use of modern heating fixtures which are not adequately lined up within the roof.

He added: “Once these blazes start – they are very difficult to extinguish because they might be in hard to reach areas or involve thatched homes.

“Another problem which can cause destruction is the design of the thatched roofs - which repel water. That leaves us with no choice but to strip away the roofs.”

On Tuesday, a blaze tore through a home in the Suffolk village of Chediston, leaving the site unsafe and destroyed by the flames.

Mr Embury added: “Fires in homes cause devastation – people can loose their roofs, their homes and their belongings. But more than anything, our primary concern is ensuring that residents are safe.

“The amount of chimney fires and thatched roof fires are around average for this time of year, but over the festive period we did have two thatched roof blazes in very quick succession.”

He advised residents to sweep their chimneys at least twice a year, while ensuring that all chimneys and flues are in an adequate condition.

For more advice on how to protect your home, visit the fire service’s web page at

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