Council offers safety advice after seven chimney fires in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 12:45 10 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:48 10 February 2016
Hertfordshire County Council has advised residents to keep safe after chimney fires across Hertfordshire.
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue service has been called to seven chimney fires so far this year.
The council has warned that the consequences of chimney fires are ‘catastrophic’. Burning debris expelled from the top of a chimney can set other parts of the building alight, or heat from the fire can radiate through to the rest of the building and ignite the whole house.
Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety, said: “Over the course of a year, particles can build up on the chimney lining and these can get very hot and start a fire,”
“It’s difficult to know exactly what’s up the chimney, for instance birds may have made nests there, and there could be all sorts of other hazards lurking around.
“I’d ask people to think about the last time they had their chimney swept, and if it’s been a while, seriously consider getting it swept this year.”
The most common causes of chimney fires are burning unseasoned wet wood, improper appliance sizing, infrequent sweeping and cleaning and leaving wood burning or smouldering overnight in wood stoves.
The council advises residents to keep their chimneys and flues clean and well-maintained, make sure embers are properly put out and to always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks. In case a fire does happen, it is important to test smoke alarms regularly.
A list of registered chimney sweeps is available at www.nacs.org.uk