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Date Added: 3rd December 2010

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were called to a chimney fire last night, Thursday 2nd December just after 8.30pm that left a family home heavily smoke logged. The fire started in the chimney but soon spread to the first floor when radiated heat conducted through the brickwork of the chimney flue to the floorboards above. Three fire engines attended the incident at the house in Selsey where crews were at the scene for almost 3 hours.
Incident Commander Martin Rawson said: "This was a classic example of how a chimney fire can spread and what can happen as a result of poor chimney maintenance. The owners were very lucky that we were able to bring the fire under control quickly and effectively but it has certainly served as a warning for the future. We urge people planning to light open fires to make sure their chimney is checked and swept regularly. "
Community Fire Safety Officer Jackie Boyle added: "We recommend that people follow our simple guidelines on Chimney Fire Safety to help reduce their chances of a fire." . Have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood. . When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only. . Build smaller, hotter fires that burn completely and produce less smoke. . Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper. . NEVER use petrol or paraffin to light your fire. . Do not overload the grate or appliance. . Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires. . Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks. . Ensure the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house. . Make sure wood burners and other fire appliances are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. . Make sure your smoke alarm is working properly, early detection can save lives.
To find your local chimney sweep, contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on free phone 0800 833464 or
Fire safety advice is free and easy to access from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Community Safety Team on 01243 642878 or

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