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Report: Fire Service attend 2029 chimney fires in last four years

By Rich_Booth  |  Posted: February 22, 2013

Chimney Fire

Devon and Somerset Fire Service attended 2029 chimney fires in last four year

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Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were called to 2029 chimney fires in the last four years, new figures revealed today.

The emergency service dealt with 557 fires in the 2011/12 period showing a slight decrease compared to the 2009/10 total of 757.

The figures, published following a Freedom of Information request from ThisIsExeter, come in the same week that the fire and rescue service was called to 29 chimney fires across the region. See below for a detailed list of incidents in the last week.

Firefighters from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to take extra care in the cold evenings, especially when lighting up fires that haven't been used for a while.

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Fire Investigation Officer, Mike Burroughs explains: “With the nights still being quite cold people have naturally been warming up their homes by lighting the traditional home fire, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous.

“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn. If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly.”

“Chimneys need to be dirt free to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses, so regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, and help prevent dangerous chimney fires. Make sure your chimney is swept regularly by a registered chimney sweep.”

Local Fire Stations, Exmouth, Budleigh Salteron, Topsham, Middlemoor, Danescastle and Crediton attended 132 fires since 2009.

Crewkerne station attended the highest number of chimney fires in Devon and Somerset - a total of 66.

No chimney fires were attended in Lundy Island, perhaps unsurprisingly considering their current population of 28.

Click here to see the full data.

Details of Chimney Fires attended from February 15 - 21

February 15:

09:42, Highbridge: A fire appliance from Burnham On Sea was mobilised following a call from the occupant of a property reporting their chimney on fire. On arrival the crew confirmed that this was involving a wood burning stove and extinguished it using chimney gear and small tools. Fure safety advice was given and duty of care was left with the occupant.

10:21, Okehampton: A fire appliance from Chagford was mobilised following a call from the elderly occupant of a property reporting her chimney on fire. On arrival the crew investigated using a thermal image camera but later confirmed the fire was out on arrival. Fire safety advice was given and duty of care was left with the owner.

12:24, Minehead: A fire appliance from Minehead was mobilised following a call from the occupant of a property reporting their chimney on fire. Shortly after arriving the crew confirmed this was a semi detached property with the chimney well alight and increased the attendance by a further fire appliance from Minehead, for equipment. Whilst one crew used chimney gear from the hearth and a thermal image camera in the loft space, the second crew administered 100% oxygen therapy to a female occupant who was suffering from minor smoke inhalation and shock. After extinguishing the fire, crews left duty of care with the Ambulance crew.

February 16:

16:52, Somerton: Fire Control received a call reporting a chimney fire at a property in Foddington, the caller believed the fire to be spreading therefore 3 appliances were mobilised to this incident. Crews from Yeovil, Somerton and Castle Cary were mobilised to attend the incident, however first informatives from the scene showed this was only a chimney fire. Crews at work attacking the fire from the hearth.

18:55, Nynehead: The Fire Service received a call reporting a chimney on fire in domestic property at the above location. One fire appliance from Taunton attended. Fire crews extinguished the fire from the hearth using chimney gear. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

19:07, Cockwood, near Starcross: The Fire Service received a call to a chimney on fire at the above location. One fire appliance from Dawlish attended. Fire crews extinguished the fire using chimney gear and a ladder for access. The cause of this fire is believed to be accidental.

21:41, West Chilla: The Fire Service received a call to a chimney fire which has possibly spread to the chimney breast of a domestic property at the above location. One fire appliance from Hatherleigh, one fire appliance from Holsworthy and one fire appliance from Okehampton attended.Fire crews confirmed this was a fire confined to the chimney. Fire crews extinguished the fire using ladders for access, small tools, one hose reel jet and a thermal image camera to check for hot spots. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

February 18:

19:25, Ruishton: The Fire Service received a call reporting a chimney on fire at the above location. One fire appliance from Taunton attended. Fire crews confirmed a chimney fire involving a woodburning stove. Fire crews extinguished the fire from the hearth using chimney gear and a thermal image camera to check for hot spots. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

February 19:

07:48, Edford: A fire appliance from Radstock was mobilised to report of a chimney on fire in Edford near Holcombe. Upon arrival they used chimney gear to extinguish the fire.

18:29, Ilfracombe: Two fire appliances were mobilised to a report of a building on fire in the area of the War Memorial in Ilfracombe. Upon arrival crews ascertained that this was in fact a chimney fire in Wilder Road. Crews used chimney gear to extinguish the fire in the flue.

18:33, Cullompton: A fire appliance from Cullompton was mobilised to a report of a chimney fire involving a wood burning stove. Upon arrival crews used a hose reel jet, chimney gear and small tools to extinguish the fire.

20:21, Shapwick: One fire appliance from Street was mobilised to a report of a chimney fire in Station Road in Shapwick. Upon arrival crews found one chimney well alight which they extinguished using chimney gear and a low pressure hose reel.

21:20, Wellington: A fire appliance from Wellington was mobilised to a report of a chimney fire in George Street in Wellington. Upon arrival crews used a stirrup pump and lance from the hearth to extinguish the fire.

21:35, Evercreech: A fire appliance from Shepton Mallet was mobilised to a report of a chimney fire in Pecking Mill in Evercreech. Upon arrival crews crews removed the inspection plate and used chimney gear to extinguish the fire.

22:03, Stoke St Michael: A fire appliance from Shepton Mallet was mobilised to a report of a chimney fire in Belmont cottages in Stoke St Michael. Upon arrival crews used crews found that the fire was out so they checked the property with a thermal imaging camera.

February 20:

14:05, Brompton Regis: One fire fighting appliance from Bampton fire station attended reports of a chimney fire at Dawes Farm, Hownel Lane in Brompton regis.Upon arrival, crews found a rayburn solid fuel oven and a chimney well alight. Smoke was also leaking into the roof space. Crews used a 135 metre ladder, a roof ladder, safety at heights equipment and one hose reel jet to extinguish the chimney fire.

14:05, Brompton Regis: The Fire Service received a call to a chimney on fire at the above location. One fire appliance from Bampton attended. Fire crews confirmed a chimney well alight from a solid fuel oven. The smoke from the fire was percolating into the adjacent roof space. Fire crews extinguished the fire using ladders, safety at height equipment, one hose reel jet and a thermal image camera to check for hot spots. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

14:12, Nether Stowey: The Fire Service received a call reporting a chimney on fire at the above location. One fire appliance from Nether Stowey attended. Fire crews extinguished the fire from the hearth using chimney gear and a stirrup pump. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

18:09, Broadhempston: One fire fighting appliance from Totnes fire station attended reports of a chimney fire at Stoop Orchard, Broadhempston. Upon arrival, crews found a chimney fire with a wood burning stove, crews used small tools and thermal imaging camera.

18:15, Exeter: One fire fighting appliance from Middlemoor fire station attended reports of a chimney fire at High Street, kenton in Exeter. Upon arrival, crews found a chimney fire within a wood burning stove, crews used chimney gear to extinguish the fire.

19:34, Ilminster: One fire fighting appliance from Ilminster fire station attended reports of a chimney fire at Sunnyside, Pottery Road, Horton, Ilminster. Upon arrival, crews found one chimney fire alight, crews worked from the hearth to extinguish the fire using small tools and chimney gear.

February 21:

10:03, Honiton: One crew from Honiton attended a report of a chimney fire. On arrival the crew dealt with a chimney fire involving a wood burner using chimney gear and Thermal Imaging Camera.

11:13, Wincanton: Appliances from Wincanton, Castle Cary, Yeovil and Gillingham attended reports of an acetylene cylinder on fire with various other cylinders also involved at a commercial premises in Wincanton this morning. An evucation was carried out and exclusion zones set up for safety purposes. Crews were able to quickly establish that the fire involved hoses of welding equipment attached to the acetylene cylinder only and were able to safely extinguish this using one hose reel jet. Crew then used a thermal immage camera to ascertain the temperatures of the cylinders and ensure the safety of the scene.

11:58, Crediton: One fire engine from Crediton station attended reports of a chimney fire at the above location today. On arrival crews were able to establish this as a straight forward chimney fire involving a wood burning stove. The fire was quickly extinguished using small tools and chimney gear. Duty of care of was left with the occupiers of the property.

13:17, Glastonbury: One fire engine from Glastonbury station were alerted to attend reports of a chimney fire at the above location this afternoon. On arrival crews confirmed that this fire was involving a wood burning stove. They have requested the attendance of a further fire appliance from Street station and all available personnel from Glastonbury. This is due to the roof space being heavily smoke logged and the crews needing to fight this fire from the roof.Crews have also requested attendance of an aerial ladder platform to allow them to reach the roof safely to fight the fire from above. This fire has now been extinguished and duty of care has been left with the occupier.

14:14, Princetown: One fire engine from Yelverton station attended reports of a chimney fire at the above location this afternoon. On arrival crews confirmed this to be a small fire in the flue of a log burner. The fire was extinguished using small tools and chimney gear.

17:30, Dawlish: One appliance from Dawlish and one from Teignmouth attended a report of a chimney fire at a thatched property. On arrival the crews found a fire in the chimney where the chimney stack was shared by two properties. The crews used chimney gear, lighting, two hose reel jets, small tools and a thermal imaging camera to extinguish the fire. At 21:40 the crew from Dawlish revisited the property to check there were no further hot spots.

18:40, Bridgwater: One crew from Bridgwater with attended a report of a chimney fire at the above address. On arrival the crews found the chimney to be well alight. They used chimney gear to extinguish the fire.

22:18, Grange Avenue: One appliance from Street was sent to report of a chimney fire. On arrival the crews confirmed there was a fire in the chimney and used chimney gear to extinguish.

Advice on preventing chimney fires from Devon and Somerset fire and rescue service:

Sweeping Frequencies:

Sweeping frequencies below are for guidance only. Frequency will depend on a number of factors including: type of fuel, appliance used, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, type of chimney.

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

Growing in popularity are wood burning stoves and they also need to be checked regularly to ensure they are safe and clean, ensure wood burners are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service have provided some top tips for safer chimneys:

• 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 or leaving the house

• when burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only

• never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper

• do not overload the grate

• bird nests, cobwebs and other blockages within chimney to be removed

• consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the build-up of poisonous fumes

• have a working smoke alarm

Smoke Alarms

We advise you to:

• regularly check your alarms by pressing the button

• once a year – change your battery or consider buying a ten-year alarm which will not require frequent battery changes

• once a year – vacuum and wipe the smoke alarm casing to ensure dust isn’t blocking the sensor chamber (for mains wired alarms, switch off first)

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