Warning after Shripney chimney fire


A SPATE of chimney fires including one in Shripney has sparked a warning from firefighters.

Three chimney fires in less than eight hours yesterday (Wednesday, January 21) have led to a safety warning from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Thankfully, crews were able to extinguish the blazes quickly, but chimney fires can be devastating.

Watch Commander Jon Etherington, whose crew extinguished the chimney fire at a cottage on Shripney Road said: “The weather has turned considerably colder recently so some people are lighting their open fires and wood burners for the first time this winter.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a rise in chimney fires as a result.

“Most chimney fires are preventable.

“They are usually caused by a build-up of coal soot or wood tar deposits so regular professional sweeping of your chimney flue removes those deposits and reduces the risk of a fire.”

Chimney fires are one of the most frequent incidents attended by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire crews attended 128 chimney fires across the county last year (January 1 to December 31 2014).

Advice on reducing the risk of a chimney fire includes:

. Have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood

. When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods from reputable suppliers

. If you have a wood burner, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on fuel loading and air flow

. 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

. Install a smoke alarm on each level of your property and test them regularly To find your local chimney sweep, contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on freephone 0800 833464 or www.nacs.org.uk.