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Danger of chimney fires

1st October 2016 @ 6:06am – by Cheshire Fire Service
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Firefighters warn of the danger of chimney fires

Firefighters are urging householders to ensure their chimneys are safe and to have them swept by a registered chimney sweep following two chimney fires on 26th September.

The first was on Warrington Road in Mere. Knutsford firefighters were called to the incident at 19.40 and found a birds nest had fallen down a flue into the fire place, causing a fire.

The second was in Tarvin and caused a fire in the bedroom of a Broomheath Lane property.

Chimney fires accounted for over 5,000 incidents dealt with by fire and rescue services between April 2014 and March 2015. Many can be prevented if homeowners get their chimneys swept by a registered sweep to prevent chimney damage, and, in worse cases, household fires.

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
  • To find a certified Chimney Sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety including a range of advice leaflets, please visit

Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, explains: "To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again.

"If the worst should happen, working smoke alarms can give you the early warning, and a fire-plan can help you ensure your family's escape in a fire -- make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them weekly or, at the very least, monthly. And don't keep this advice to yourself -- pass it on. Is there anyone you know who may need your help in organising a sweep or testing their alarms?"

How often should you have your chimney swept?

  • Smokeless coals At least once a year
  • Wood Up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal Twice a year
  • Oil Once a year
  • Gas Once a year

Nick adds: "A stove or open fire can be an ideal and pleasant way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. Latest statistics show that there are over 5,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most of these are preventable.

"All chimneys and flues should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they're free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it's very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep."

For more information on fire safety please visit or

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