Concern at number of chimney fires
This safety advice is issued after call-outs to chimney or woodburning stove fires averaged more than one a day over the last week.
This included a chimney fire in Leintwardine on Friday 8 March; a chimney fire in Bransford and a woodburning stove fire in Bewdley on Sunday 10 March; a woodburning stove fire in Credenhill, Hereford on Monday 11 March; woodburning stove fires in Bromyard and in Upper Welland, Malvern, on Tuesday 12 March; a chimney fire in Leintwardine on Wednesday 13 March, and also a chimney fire in Orleton and a woodburner fire in Pembridge, near Leominster on Thursday 14 March.
Station Commander Alan Haley from HWFRS’s Community Safety department said: “We are continuing to see high numbers of chimney fires in properties in both Herefordshire and Worcestershire and so want to highlight to residents just how serious these can be, plus the actions they can take to avoid experiencing a chimney fire themselves.”
He confirmed that the majority of chimney fires that HWFRS attends are brought under control fairly rapidly with limited damage to the property, but that there is always the potential for a chimney fire to spread into the roof space and completely destroy a home.
He explained that the woodburning stove chimney fire in Bromyard on Tuesday (12 March) was a more serious one, involving the attendance of two fire appliances plus the Aerial Ladder Platform for access to the roof. The blaze affected internal beams at the property and necessitated extensive cutting away by the crews tackling the fire.
He added: “Many chimney fires are avoidable simply through good care and maintenance, and we recommend regular inspection of chimney flues and regular sweeping of the chimney throughout the colder months when fires will be used more often. This way, you can eliminate the build-up of soot in the chimney and clear obstructions such as leaves and birds’ nests.”
He also reminded people to burn only the recommended fuel for their particular fire or woodburner, and not to burn rubbish or use flammable liquids, such as petrol or paraffin to light the fire. He also recommended an occasional look in the loft space when the fire is alight to check for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints.