Firefighters in Surrey have urged homeowners to be cautious when lighting fires in their hearths, and to be aware of the dangers of chimney fires.
The Surrey Mirror reported on the advice after a couple were forced to flee their home when one of their rooms filled with smoke.
Once they were outside the property the couple could see smoke billowing from the chimney, and firefighters stated that the fire was contained in the chimney shaft. Luckily for this couple, there was no internal fire damage to their home.
However, firefighters in the area were keen to make people aware of the risk of lighting fires at this time of year, particularly if you haven’t used your antique fireplace yet due to the mild winter much of the UK has been experiencing.
“You should sweep your chimney at least twice a year – once at the start and once towards winter,” a spokesman for Leatherhead Fire Station explained.
They stressed that a build-up of soot in the chimney can easily cause a blaze and that it’s therefore vital for anyone who has an open fire to take care of it properly.
One such example where exactly this occurred was highlighted by the Bolton News, when a family in Wigan had to evacuate their home after soot caught between the chimney’s liner and bricks was set on fire by their log burning stove.
In this instance, flames were coming out of the chimney and firefighters had to use an innovative method to extinguish the fire without causing unnecessary damage to the property. They used a high-pressure lance to blast a hole in the wood burner’s flue, where the combination of rising water and mist put out the fire without causing further damage.