Warning after quartet of chimney blazes
Somerset fire chiefs are asking people to take extra care during the cold evenings following a spate of chimney fires.
Within just two hours on a cold evening recently fire crews were called out to four chimney fires in the county.
Fire investigation officer from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, Mike Burroughs said: "With the nights still being quite cold, people have naturally been warming up their homes by lighting the traditional home fire.
"However, without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous.
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"To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn.
"If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly."
Chimneys need to be dirt free to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses, so regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, and help prevent dangerous chimney fires.
Make sure that your home's chimney is swept regularly by a registered chimney sweep.
Wood burning stoves need to be checked regularly to ensure they are safe and clean, ensure wood burners are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the fire service advises that you always check your smoke alarms are working properly.