Spate of chimney fires sparks warning

Emergency response.
Emergency response.

The fire service has warned residents and business owners to make sure their chimneys are swept following an increase in chimney fires.

In the past few weeks, Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has attended 30 chimney fires - 27 at homes, two at restaurants and one at a pub.

Cllr Les Caborn, portfolio holder for community safety said: “We are concerned about the rise in chimney fires over the last few weeks, but it is in keeping with what we would expect when there is a spike of colder weather.

“So whilst we are advising residents to keep warm and well this winter, we want to ensure they are able to do so safely. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that you have your chimney swept before you light up for the winter months.”

Depending upon what fuel you burn, you may need to have your chimney swept as often as four times a year.

Cllr Richard Chattaway, chair of the communities overview and scrutiny committee, added: “Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable.

“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked regularly to ensure they are free from debris and in full working order before you put them back on. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings, so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.”

To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, visit www.nacs.org.uk, www.instituteofchimneysweeps.com/find.php or www.hetas.co.uk