Spate of chimney fires prompts warning

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EAST Sussex Fire & Rescue has issued a warning to homeowners after being called out to two separate chimney fires yesterday (Sunday).

Eastbourne firefighters were called to a fire in Rangemore Drive on Sunday evening where they were at the property for about half an hour to make the premises safe.

Earlier in the day, a fire crew from Preston Circus dealt with a similar incident in Brighton.

This is the second week on the trot that there have been a series of chimney fires on a Sunday.

Steve Wright, Community Safety Manager, 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 420 incidents involving chimney fires.”

East Sussex Fire & Rescue say that Sunday is the most common day for chimney fires and 7pm was the most common time to receive emergency calls for chimney fires. Single occupancy homes were by far the most common property for this type of an incident, with the county fire brigade pinpointing 143 incidents in the past year. However, there have been no fatalities.

The fire and rescue service is urging homeowners to remember the importance of professional chimney maintenance.

“A good old-fashioned sweep will eliminate the build-up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas-fired appliances and maintain your chimney safely. It also clears obstructions such as birds and animal nests, even cobwebs,” said a spokeswoman.