Chimney fires

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Please note: This safety advice is offered as guidance only. If in doubt, Get out, Stay out and get the Fire and Rescue Service out!


Keep it clean

Chimney fires can be prevented

Your chimney must be kept clean to prevent fires and structural damage to your property. Clean chimneys also help the environment by assisting the complete combustion of the fuel, reducing emissions in the atmosphere. Regular cleaning of your chimney or flues eliminates the build-up of soot and clears obstructions such as bird and animal nests, leaves and debris.

Using a vacuum cleaner alone is not sufficient to clean the chimney properly. Ensure your chimney flue is inspected at regular intervals to prevent fire breaking out of the chimney. Fireguards can prevent serious injury or death. Spark guards can prevent a serious fire in your property.

Chimneys using:

  • Smokeless fuels should be swept at least once a year
  • Bituminous coal should be swept at least once a year
  • Wood, every 3 months when in use
  • Oil, once a year
  • Gas, once a year

Make sure you are not at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning by having appliances installed and serviced by competent engineers.

Fit a carbon monoxide detector and never block air bricks, vents or flues.


Fire prevention

  • Do not use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire
  • Do not burn paper or rubbish
  • Do not overload the fire with fuel
  • Go into the loft occasionally when the fire is alight to check for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints

If a chimney fire happens

  • Dial 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Alert other people in the house
  • Leave the room, closing the door behind you and wait for the Fire and Rescue Service to arrive

Further information

Community Fire Safety

Telephone: 01743 260 200