CAMBS: Fire service warning to sweep chimneys after attending six blazes in 48 hours


Fire - Credit: Archant

FIRE chiefs have warned residents to ensure chimneys are swept after attending six blazes this weekend - including one last night in Fenland.

As Cambridgeshire residents relied on open fires to provide extra heating for their homes during the cold snap, firefighters were busy putting out chimney fires.

The fires occurred when the fire started to spread from the chimney to other areas of the home for a variety of reasons, such as a build-up of debris in the chimney, poor flue linings and cracks in the brickwork of the chimney.

Between Friday evening and Sunday evening, crews were called to extinguish six chimney fires.

One of those was at a home in Needham Bank, Friday Bridge, at 11.50pm yesterday. Crews were at the scene for more than 90 minutes.

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In comparison, the service attended just five chimney fires during December.

Martin Ockenden, risk manager at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It has been very cold and some residents have decided to light open fires in their homes to stay warm.

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“This may have been the first time residents have used their open fires this winter and they may not have been swept which could be why so many fires are occurring.

“If you have an open fire in your home, it is vital that your chimney is swept at least once a year to prevent a build-up of debris which could start a fire.

“In addition to this, the brickwork on the chimney should also be inspected, particularly in the roof space to ensure there are no cracked or broken bricks which embers could escape through.

“Open fires can be cosy and a cheaper way to stay warm, but a chimney fire is chilling and expensive. Not only could it cause extensive damage to your home, but it could also put the lives of you and your family at serious risk.”

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