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How do flames spread in chimney fires?

It’s happened again – another chimney fire in Kent. This time in Penshurst, Tonbridge. Two fire engines raced to a house in Grove Road and firefighters used chimney gear to put out the fire. The incident happened on January 18.

Kent Fire & Rescue Service says the fire started ‘accidentally, when flames from a fireplace spread to the internal chimney’. How does that happen?

There are two main reasons, broadly speaking, as pointed out by the local fire service:-

  1. Overloading the fire grate and putting too many logs into the woodburner or open fire. It’s recommended (burnright.co.uk) to keep logs burning at a high temperature but we do need to balance that with ensuring there isn’t too much fuel. How much is too much? That requires a bespoke answer. Your chimney sweep will know what type of appliance is in your home and the best use of fuel. Ask him or her for advice. If you live in any of these areas, your local chimney sweep is James the Sweep: Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Southborough, Maidstone, Pembury, Hadow, Paddock Wood, Orpington, Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Crowborough.
  2. Talking of chimney sweeps. The other reason that these flames can catch fire is because a spark alights on soot residue clogging up your chimney flue IF you have not booked regular chimney sweep appointments to keep the flue clear and fit for purpose. As Kent Fire & Rescue Service says: “If you have a fireplace or log burner at home, you can help to reduce the risk of an emergency by ensuring your chimney and flue are inspected and swept at least once a year for coal, and twice if you are burning logs.” 

If you have questions about chimney flue safety, indoor fires, woodburners, birds’ nests, chimney pots, cowls and tops – anything related to your chimney and fire safety, PLEASE do get in touch with James the Sweep. Prevention is better than cure. It saves money to book a sweep with James (£60) than face the costs of your house burning down. In the Penhurst incident, no one was injured (thankfully) but the risk of a chimney fire is not only financial. Lives are in danger if you don’t book a chimney sweep. Enjoy your indoor fire safely! Book a chimney sweeping appointment today.