Monday, 22 October 2012

Chimney fires likely to strike on a Sunday

Sunday is the one day of the week that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is likely to be called out to a chimney fire.

This fact was born out yesterday (21stOctober) after crews were called out twice in one day to two separate chimney fires in East Sussex.

The first call came in at 1.47pm in Cranbourne Street, Brighton, and a crew from Preston Circus remained at the scene until 2.22pm making the area safe.

Meanwhile, later the same day in Rangemore Drive, Eastbourne firefighters were called out at 8.36pm and were at the property for just under half an hour making the area safe.

This is the second week on the trot that there have been a series of chimney fires on a Sunday.

Steve Wright, Community Safety Manager, said: "Chimney fires are a common cause of fire in dwellings and can cause widespread damage.

An open fire is an ideal way to keep warm this winter but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. In the last two years alone we have attended 420 incidents involving chimney fires.”

Chimney Fire Facts:
  • Sundays were the most common days for chimney fires.
  • 7pm was the most common time to receive calls about chimney fires. 
  •   Single occupancy houses are by far the most common property for chimney fires, with 143 incidents, bungalows trail in second place with only 13.
  • There were no fatalities caused by chimney fires.­
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind homeowners of the importance of professional chimney maintenance.

A good old fashioned sweep will eliminate the build-up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas-fired appliances and maintain your chimney safely. It also clears obstructions such as birds and animal nests, even cobwebs.

All NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) Members are fully trained, qualified and fully insured. Members work to a Code of Practice and a Certificate of Sweeping is issued on completion of work.

To find a certified chimney sweep and lots more, please visit

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service recommend that people follow the guidelines outlined below on chimney fire safety to help reduce their chances of a fire. For further chimney fire safety advice, please visit the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service website:

  •  Have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood.
  • When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only.
  • Build smaller, hotter fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper.
  • 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.
  •  Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks. 
  •  Ensure the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Make sure wood burners and other fire appliances are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions. 
  •   Make sure your smoke alarm is working properly, early detection can save lives.

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