With the arrival of cooler, Autumnal weather, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is reminding residents to check their chimneys and flues before using open fires or wood burning stoves to heat their homes.
Crews were called to two incidents involving wood burners yesterday evening (12 September), in properties near Edenbridge and East Peckham.
The first, in Chiddingstone Hoath at 8.14pm, was a fire in a flue. After crews extinguished it, they advised the owner to get it cleaned and checked by a professional chimney sweep before using the wood burner again.
The second call out, to a house in Old Church Lane at 9pm, involved a wood burner that had been overloaded with logs, causing flames to be drawn up the chimney breast. Crews emptied the burner, cooled it down and used a thermal imaging camera on the chimney breast throughout the house to check for signs of excessive heating, while offering advice to the owner.
KFRS Group Manager for Community Safety, Colin King, said: “It is around this time of year that we start to see chimney fires as people start lighting their open fires in their homes again. We are advising residents who do use open fires or wood burning stoves to have their chimney swept regularly.
“It is easy to overlook the fact that a build-up of soot and ash left over from previous fires can lead to the chimney catching alight, presenting a real risk to your home and family.”
“We also advise residents to consider having the condition of your chimney checked to ensure it is safe and to ensure follow our chimney fire safety advice when using this methods to heat their homes.
Please also ensure you have working smoke alarms fitted on every floor of your property to give you the early warning needed in the event of a fire.
Sign up to our Clean Sweep Alert reminder service for an extra reminder.