Monthly Archives: April 2013

  • Warning for Homeowners with Thatched Properties

    After an investigation made by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue service, it has been revealed that fires in thatched houses have been caused by a common factor - excessive heat being transferred from the chimney stack to the thatch. In the majority of these properties, the main source of heating the home has been a wood burning stove.

    Paul Francis, Community Safety Officer and head of the campaign to encourage extra precautions in thatched buildings, suggested that where modern stoves are designed to burn at a greater temperature to create a more efficient "clean burn", the old, thin and often ill-maintained chimney stacks cannot hold out against the heat transfer they create.

    It is essential that chimney stacks, flues and spark arrestors are installed and fully maintained by professional installers and regularly swept by a qualified chimney sweep. Ideally, the stack should be swept at least twice a year but more sweeps may be required depending on the fuels being burnt. Often coal or oil burning systems will not need as many as a wood burning system.

    For more information, contact your local fire safety department.


  • Landlord fined after failing to ensure gas heater was safe

    A landlord from Blackburn has been fined £1500 including costs after failing to ensure that a gas heater he provided to a rented showroom was safe to use.

    Two employees at the showroom were taken to hospital and were found to have elevated levels of Carbon Monoxide in their blood, one of which was three times over the normal levels. When an inpector from the National Grid was called to the property, it was found that the gas heater was the cause of the leak.

    A spokesperson from the Health and Safety Executive said: 

    "Landlords need to make sure that equipment they provide for their tenants is adequately maintained and safe to use... Landlords of commercial properties should make sure that contracts clearly state who is responsible for maintaining gas boilers and appliances so that everyone is aware of their responsibilities."


  • Locals Leave Lagers as Pub Catches Fire

    Locals from the Coach and Horse pub in Kew, had to abandon their pints after smoke started to billow out from the chimney.

    Over 100 people were evacuated from the pub on Friday 5th April after smoke from a chimney fire, caused by a blockage in the stack, set off the smoke alarms. Two fire engines attended the scene whilst witnesses claim the fire was so large that flames could be seen coming out from the top of the brick stack.  

    This latest chimney fire acts as a reminder for both home and business owners to ensure their chimneys are swept for blockages annually, kept fully maintained and working smoke detectors are installed in the property.

  • Suspected Carbon Monoxide Tragedy in Cumbria

    A mother and her ten-year old daughter have died over the Bank Holiday after suspected Carbon Monoxide poisoning on a boat in Lake Windermere, Cumbria.

    The family were reportedly on the privately-owned boat for the holidays which may have been fitted with a faulty generator when the incident happened. A man, who was also on board the boat, is still being treated in hospital. Inquiries are continuing into the exact cause of this tragedy and our thoughts are with the family of those involved.

    Carbon Monoxide is known as the "silent killer" and is responsible for over 50 deaths a year in the UK alone, with over 200 people left dangerously ill. Symptoms include headaches, vomiting, dizziness and shortness of breath. Undetectable by sight, smell or taste, the only way to detect the presence of CO is with a detector. These can be bought for very little money and are fully transportable so can be taken on holidays, as well as functioning in the home. 

    Another case of Carbon Monoxide poisoning was reported last week in Wales* when a detector went off informing a family, including a six-month-old baby, that an outbreak had occurred. They were all treated in hospital for mild CO poisoning and are since recovering well. The crew manager for the fire brigade confirmed that the leak had come from a boiler less than three years old and wanted to remind homeowners not to be complacent with new appliances as they can still pose a safety threat.

    Remember, it is recommended to get your appliances checked at least once a year by a fully registered Gas Safety engineer. To find a registered engineer in your area, go to

    *Read more:
  • Eight chimney fires in 48 hours

    Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue have urged homeowners to regularly sweep their chimneys after 8 chimney fires in only 48 hours broke out in the county.

    With the cold weather set to continue, and more and more people looking to woodburning stoves and open fires to keep their homes warm, the importance of maintaining a chimney is paramount.

    Debbie Robinson, Deputy community safety manager for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said, "Chimney fires most commonly result from four basic causes – having the wrong sized wood burner installed, infrequent sweeping and cleaning, burning of unseasoned wood, or overnight burning or smouldering of wood for long periods in wood burners."

    With this in mind, ensure that your appliances are installed by a competant and registered installer, checked regularly by a chimney sweep and check that your smoke detectors are working every week.

    Read more:

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