Chimney fires on the increase

6th October, 2010

Chimney fires in Shropshire are on the increase as more people try and keep warm during the recent cold spell.

Community fire safety officers from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service today reminded householders to have their chimneys swept at least once a year to avert a blaze.

Using unseasoned wood can lead to the sap sticking to the sides of your chimney and this can cause a potential fire, said Charlie Cartwright, based at Shrewsbury Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters.

“I would appeal to those of you who use open fires or wood burners to ensure your chimney is swept at least twice a year. Birds may have used your chimney to nest in over the summer months and remains of which could catch fire.

“We are experiencing a rise in the number of chimney fires across the county which coincides with the cold weather spell.”

Firefighters were called out to deal with 18 chimney fires over the past three months compared with eight the previous year. In 2009/10 there were a total of 191 chimney fires in the county and statistics show this could increase this year unless home owners take action.

“Having a chimney fire can cause serious damage to your property and could possible result in injury or even death.

"Fire officers encourage every home to install a potentially lifesaving smoke alarms, which will alert residents should a fire start in the home before it takes hold."