Monday, 15 October 2012

Sunday chimney fires sparks safety warning

 East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service firefighters were called out to three chimney fires in the space of one day.

As temperatures drop it appears that many are choosing to warm themselves by a roaring fire.

However, firefighters would like to remind people that if chimneys are not swept on a regular basis it could have detrimental results.

The first call came in at 6.21pm on Sunday (14th October) to a home in Burwash Road, Broad, Heathfield. The second call-out came in just minutes later at 6.50pm at a property in North Street, Hellingly, Hailsham. And then in another part of the county Eastbourne firefighters were called out to Port Road, Hampden Park, Eastbourne, at 8.01pm.

Historically, in East Sussex Sundays were the most common day for chimney fires and 7pm the most common time to receive an emergency call for chimney fires.

Community Safety Manager, Steve Wright, said:

“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.

“Chimneys need to be swept, not only to help prevent a fire, but also to reduce the risk of dangerous fume emissions from blocked heating appliances, flue-ways and chimneys.”

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 or

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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