Spate of barbecue fires sparks warning

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Firefighters were called to a spate of barbecue fires across the county as the good weather made its way through West Sussex over the weekend.

The fire service said it was called to seven separate incidents involving barbecues in Goring-By-Sea, Shoreham, Bepton, Crawley, Petworth, Cuckfield and Salvington.

No one was injured in these incidents although two properties were damaged by one of fires.

A spokesman for the fire service said the fires were started by hot ashes which had not been disposed of properly.

Adam Condell, Worthing watch manager, who attended the incident in Salvington, said: “Thankfully, nobody has been hurt but it could have been very different. In one of the incidents we attended discarded charcoal set fire to a waste bin which then spread to a fence and caused damage to two properties.

“Charcoal may be cool to the touch but the coals in the centre may still remain smouldering. We would recommended that barbecues are left for several hours to completely cool down before disposal. Hot coals should never be discarded into rubbish bins.

“Hopefully, we have a long hot summer ahead of us. Whether you are using barbecues at home or getting out into the Sussex countryside, following a few common sense tips should ensure that everyone can enjoy themselves safely.”

The fire service has released the following advice:

. When using a disposable barbecue make sure the coals are completely cold before throwing them away

. Make sure that your barbecue is placed on clear level ground where it will not tip over

. Use approved barbecue fuel or firelighters to light it, never petrol or paraffin

. Keep barbecues away from the house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees and shrubs

. Keep children and pets well away from the cooking area

. Don’t leave your barbecue unattended at any time

. Empty any spent ash on to bare soil, not into a dustbin

. If you are lighting a barbecue in the countryside or on the beach - check beforehand that it is an authorised area.

For a full range of fire safety advice visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

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