Chimney Fires - the precautions to take

The summer will end soon. As the evenings get cooler it is tempting to start a 'real' fire if you have an open fireplace or perhaps a wood-burning stove. Nothing wrong with that, of course, a warm flickering fire is just the thing to banish the chill.

Certain precautions should be taken, especially as it is likely this may be the first fire for several months. In the United Kingdom there are around 30,000 chimney fires each year and, of these, around 9,000 cause serious damage.

As the solid fuel burns and the smoke rises up the chimney it cools leaving a tar like deposit lining the stack. Over time this deposit becomes thicker and can lead to a chimney fire if a source of ignition, such as a hot ember, touches it.


It may not be fire that damages your property, it may be the smoke from the fire. Anyone who has ever experienced a fire in a property will tell you that the smoke gets into everything and can be difficult to remove. As happened at a chimney fire in Cowfold recently.

It is better to prevent a fire happening in the first place, but it is also sensible to be prepared in case the worst happens by installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

If you have questions about fire risk assessment, or for help on any aspect of fire safety, call us on 01524 784356 today.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

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