Chimney fires spark warning

Homeowners are being reminded to regularly sweep their chimneys after chimney fires broke out in East Sussex over the weekend.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service also issued advice to residents about staying safe following incidents in Seaford, Lewes, Crowborough and Eastbourne.

A chimney fire took hold in Green Lane, Crowborough, at 12.29pm on Saturday and fire fighters were on site until 2.12pm. Sunday saw three blazes. The first broke out at a property in Westdown Road, Seaford, at 11.44am.

There was another chimney fire in Croxden Way, Willingdon Trees, Eastbourne, at 1.24pm, which was out on arrival. Crews from Lewes and Barcombe attended a chimney fire in Valley Road, Lewes, at 4.24pm and remained at the scene until 6.18pm.

Community safety manager Steve Wright said: “Chimney fires are a common cause of fire in dwellings and can cause widespread damage.

“An open fire is an ideal way to keep warm this winter but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. In the last two years alone we have attended more than 420 incidents involving chimney fires.”

“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should have your chimney swept regularly.

“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.”

Follow these safety tips from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service:

n Ensure your chimney is swept regularly.

n Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

n Be careful when using open fires. Make sure you always protect against flying sparks from hot embers.

n Ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.

n Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used (always consult your NACS chimney sweep for advice).

n Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents.

To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, visit www.nacs.org.uk - External Link or guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk/