Warning after series of chimney fires

The fire service have warned residents about getting chimneys swept after three fires in Fenland homes in three days.

On Friday at 4.05pm, a fire started in the chimney of a house in High Road, Wisbech St Mary. It was in danger of spreading to the roof space and fire crews had to cut away sections of the roof to make sure no hotspots remained.

On Saturday, there was a chimney fire in Back Road, Friday Bridge, at 7.10pm, and at 11.50pm on Sunday, there was a fire at Needham Bank, Friday Bridge.

The fires occurred when the fire started to spread from the chimney to other areas of the home, for a variety of reasons, such as a build up of debris in the chimney, poor flue linings and cracks in the brickwork of the chimney.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is now calling for residents to ensure their chimneys are properly maintained to reduce the risk of fire.

Martin Ockenden, Risk Manager at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “It has been very cold over the past few days and some residents have decided to light open fires in their homes to stay warm. This may have been the first time residents have used their open fires this winter and they may not have been swept which could be why so many fires are occurring.

“If you have an open fire in your home, it is vital that your chimney is swept at least once a year to prevent a build up of debris which could start a fire.

“In addition to this, the brickwork on the chimney should also be inspected, particularly in the roof space to ensure there are no cracked or broken bricks which embers could escape through.

“Open fires can be cosy and a cheaper way to stay warm, but a chimney fire is chilling and expensive. Not only could it cause extensive damage to your home, but it could also put the lives of you and your family at serious risk.”