Firefighters issue warning after chimney fires across Midhurst

Fire service
Fire service

THREE chimney fires in the space of two hours have sparked a safety warning from firefighters.

Last night (December 3) West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called out to three separate chimney fires in Loxwood and one in Woolbeding Common within the space of just two hours. Crews were able to extinguish the blazes quickly, but have warned of the dangers of chimney fires.

At 7.20pm, Midhurst firefighters were called to a house in Older Hill Lane at Woolbeding Common. It took one hour to extinguish the chimney fire. Crews from Dunsfold and Billingshurst were also called to chimney fires in Loxwood.

Jackie Boyle, community fire safety officer for the service, said: “The temperatures have really dropped in the last couple of days. We know many people are turning to open fires to keep out the cold, but if basic safety precautions aren’t followed they can become a serious fire hazard. The best piece of advice we can give to anyone planning to light a fire this winter is to make sure they get their chimney checked and swept by a qualified professional.

“Chimney fires are one of the most common incidents that our crews attend, but most are completely preventable. The consequence of a chimney fire isn’t just the damage caused by the blaze itself, there is also the damage from the soot and smoke, which can affect all of your personal property.

“You should also make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home.”

The services advises homeowners to have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only, build smaller, hotter fires that burn completely and produce less smoke, never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper, never use petrol or paraffin to light a fire, do not overload the grate or appliance, use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires and ensure the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.