Spate of chimney fires sparks warning across Midhurst and Petworth area

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THE fifth chimney fire in less than 48 hours has sparked a warning from the West Sussex fire and rescue service.

Shortly after 8pm last night (Thursday, January 22) Midhurst firefighters were called to the latest one at a home in Selham Road, South Ambersham.

They used a special chimney kit to tackle the fire and a thermal imagining camera to check for hot spots.

Now the fire service is warning people to have sure they have their chimneys swept at least once a year and twice if they are burning wood.

“And make sure you buy only dry seasoned woods from reputable suppliers.”

The spokesman said chimney fires were one of the most frequent incidents the firefighters were called to.

They dealt with 128 chimney fires across the county last year from January 1-December 31.

On Wednesday (January 21) firefighters were called out to three separate chimney fires in Warninglid, Henfield and Bognor Rgis in the space of just eight hours.

Before the latest chimney fire at South Ambersham last night firefighters were out yesterday morning at a pub in Horsham Road, Ashhurst.

“Thankfully, crews were able to extinguish the blazes quickly, but chimney fires can be devastating,” said the spokesman

Watch Commander Jon Etherington, whose crew dealt with one of the fires on Wednesday evening said: “The weather has turned considerably colder recently so some people are lighting their open fires and wood burners for the first time this winter.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a rise in chimney fires as a result.

“Most chimney fires are preventable. They are usually caused by a build-up of coal soot or wood tar deposits so regular professional sweeping of your chimney flue removes those deposits and reduces the risk of a fire.”

To find your nearest chimney sweep contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on freephone 0800 833464 or www.nacs.org.uk