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Warning following spate of chimney fires

The five incidents include a fire at a cottage in Bordesley in Redditch at 6.35pm on Friday evening, another at a cottage in Bromyard at 9.10pm, also on Friday evening, then a chimney fire at a house in Grove Park in Wormbridge at 12.30pm on Saturday 19 February, one at a cottage in Church Road in Brimfield at 5.50pm and also one at a house in Norton Wood in Herefordshire at 8.40pm, both on Saturday evening.

An increase in chimney fires in the last quarter (October – December 2010) compared to the same period in 2009 was also noted at a recent meeting held by Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority (a total of 104 chimney fires in Quarter 3 – 2010/11 compared to 81 in Quarter 3 – 2009/10, an increase of 28.4%).

Sharon Jones from HWFRS's Community Safety department said: "While HWFRS attends around 200 chimney and woodburner fires every year, there has been an unusually high call-out rate this winter, and this upward trend is very concerning."

She explained that chimney fires have the potential to be extremely serious. They can cause smoke damage throughout the house and can easily spread into the roof space and other floors of the building, and can even destroy a home completely.

She added: "While fires involving chimneys and wood burning stoves can be devastating, we know that many can be avoided, simply by ensuring chimneys are swept on a regular basis."

She explained that it takes just one quick phone call to the chimney sweep, one small payment and one hour of your time to get your chimney swept, but really can play a vital part in ensuring your home, your family and your possessions are safe from the effects of a chimney fire.