News release text
Three fire engines tackled a large chimney fire at a house in Cranbrook Road, Benenden at 1.13pm on Sunday (1 December). It is believed to have started due to a build up of soot and debris on the chimney ledge and spread to the chimney stack. Crews used chimney gear to fight the fire, both from the hearth and via the roof.
Open fire image © PHOTOPOLITAIN - Fotolia.comThe fire generated very high temperatures in the chimney breast which crews monitored using a thermal imaging camera. Crews left the scene at 7.30pm, but one appliance returned just after 9pm and cut away some of the walls and plaster, to expose the brickwork and access remaining hotspots in the hidden voids in the flue. No one was injured.
Earlier on Sunday morning Ashford crews were called to Francis Road after a faulty log burner caused smoke damage. Ashford Watch Manager Jim Smart said: “Fortunately this home was only affected by smoke and no-one was hurt but these incidents have the potential to do a lot of damage to your property and it can put your family at risk if it spreads, as just three breaths of toxic smoke from a house fire can be deadly.”
This followed an incident on Saturday night (30 November) when two fire engines were sent to a house in Little Buckland Avenue, Maidstone, after paper stored under a wood burner caught light.
Maidstone Crew Manager Chris Puxted said the residents were not home when the fire started and there were no working smoke alarms but fortunately neighbours saw smoke and called 999. He added: “Firefighters managed to get into the house and wore breathing apparatus to remove the burning material before using a high pressure fan to reduce smoke damage. This incident shows that people using both fixed and portable heaters must ensure there is a safe distance between the fire and other materials.”
Residents are advised to have chimneys swept and wood burners checked but it is also vital to have working smoke alarms fitted in your home, to ensure you and your family are alerted in the unfortunate event of fire and to give you the extra time you need to escape.
Wood-burning stoves and boilers should use only the right quality of wood and need to be properly maintained and regularly serviced. If your wood burner is not burning correctly, contact the company or shop that sold it to you. Or contact the Association of British Solid Fuel Appliance Manufacturers for advice.
Follow these guidelines:
The stove or boiler should be installed by a competent person, following the maker's instructions and the building regulations and codes of practice
Make sure there is enough air coming into the room. The wood should be dry and well-seasoned. This usually takes about two years. A well-seasoned log will have drying-out splits in the ends. Wet or newly-felled wood can cause tar or creosote to form in the wood burner and chimney
If the wood burner has been used slowly (overnight, for instance) this should be followed by a period of faster burning to dry out any creosote and to warm up the chimney again
The chimney should be cleaned at the end of each heating season and at least once during the heating season. It should also be inspected regularly.
For further chimney fire safety advice visit our chimney fire safety page.