Chimney fire in Shoreham

Chimney fires can be devastating, warn firefighters
Chimney fires can be devastating, warn firefighters

FIREFIGHTERS were called to a Shoreham house late last night to deal with a chimney fire.

The blaze broke out in The Drive at 11.15pm and the crew had to use chimney equipment and a thermal imaging camera to tackle it.

Advise was given to the occupiers before the fire crew left scene, just before midnight.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue has dealt with a number of chimney fires in the last month, sparking a safety warning from firefighters.

Early in December, there were three chimney fires in the space of two hours, two in Loxwood and one in Woolbeding Common.

Firefighters said they were able to deal the blazes quickly, but warned chimney fires can be devastating.

Jackie Boyle, community fire safety officer, said: “We know that many people are turning to open fires to keep out the cold, but if basic safety precautions aren’t followed they can become a serious fire hazard.

“The best piece of advice we can give to anyone planning to light a fire this winter is to make sure they get their chimney checked and swept by a qualified professional.

“Chimney fires are one of the most common incidents that our crews attend, but most are completely preventable. The consequence of a chimney fire isn’t just the damage caused by the blaze itself; there is also the damage from the soot and smoke, which can affect all of your personal property.

“Of course, you should also make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home. That early warning to a fire really is a lifesaver and means damage to your property can hopefully be kept to a minimum.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service offers the following advice:-

- 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

- 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 manufacturer’s instructions

- Only a working smoke alarms save lives so check yours weekly

To find a local chimney sweep, contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on freephone 0800 833464 or www.nacs.org.uk