Warning following more chimney fires
With call-outs to a further four chimney fires over the weekend, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) are urging residents across the two counties to act now to ensure their chimneys are swept and ready to use safely this winter.
This warning follows several chimney fires last week across the Service area, including one in Norton Canon, just outside Eardisley, one in Yatton in the Kingsland area of Herefordshire and one in Leigh Sinton just near Malvern.
Over the weekend, fire crews were called to attend chimney fires in Eyton, near Leominster on Friday 19 November, in Callow Hill, Redditch and Rock in Kidderminster on Saturday 20 November and also at Kingsland in Herefordshire on Sunday 21 November.
While all of these were safely extinguished within an hour or two, chimney fires do have the potential to be very serious, and the Fire Service are highlighting these recent fires in a bid to encourage others to take preventative measures.
Launa Walker, Community Safety Manager at HWFRS, said: "We do tend to see a seasonal rise in chimney fires in the autumn, and this year has been no exception with 14 fires reported in September and 12 in October, a small increase compared to the same two-month period last year."
"Most chimney fires, however, are preventable, and we'd urge residents across the two counties to ensure chimney flues are regularly inspected and cleaned to help eliminate the build-up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas fired systems, and swept to clear obstructions like bird nests, leaves and debris."
She advised that anyone burning coal, logs, smokeless fuel or oil should make an appointment now to have their chimney swept if they have not already done so this winter, and should also ensure their smoke alarms are in full working order.
HWFRS recommend that:
- Chimneys using smokeless fuel, coal or oil, should be swept at least once a year
- Chimneys using wood should be swept quarterly when in use
- A fireguard is placed in front of the fire at all times
- Fires are extinguished before going to bed or leaving the property unattended
- Do not burn paper or rubbish on fires in the grate
- Check for smoke from cracks in the in the chimney breast
- Install a working smoke alarm in the roof space
- Consider fitting a carbon monoxide detector