Chimney fires lead to fire service warning

Fire chiefs in West Yorkshire are reminding people to make sure their chimney is swept after being called out to more than 60 incidents last year.


As the cost-of-living crisis continues, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is warning there could be an increase in fires as people look at alternative ways to heat their homes.

In 2022 firefighters attended 68 chimney fires, prompting calls for people to ensure their chimney is well-maintained and swept at least once a year.

The most recent chimney fire took place in Halifax last month when crews used a hose reel and breathing apparatus to extinguish the blaze. The fire at a home in Bank Top, Southowram, saw a woman and three children call the fire service and safely leave the property just after midnight on December 11th.


Dave Walton, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said people should not take it for granted that their chimney is ready to be used. “The cost-of-living crisis is affecting how people heat their homes, as they try to reduce the amount of time they have the central heating on. One way they are doing this is by using a fire, but they need to make sure that chimneys are swept and inspected routinely.

“If residents burn logs, they should have the chimney inspected and swept at least twice a year. If they burn coal this should be done at least once a year. 

“We are urging people to follow the advice on using a real fire so we can prevent further chimney fires as well as other structural damage which can also be caused by faulty chimneys.”

Around 40 percent of chimney fires in England take place between January and March. HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) is campaigning over these months, to raise awareness and offer tips to reduce the risk.

It has seen an increase in reported chimney fires in recent weeks as more people turn to their stoves as an affordable way to heat their homes. 

Over the coming months HETAS is urging everyone to Book a Sweep and avoid having a chimney fire. 

These are their top tips to help prevent a chimney fire:

1. Book a sweep now – chimneys need to be swept on a regular basis and at least once a year, sometimes more depending on the type of fuel used.
2. Use ready to burn fuels – there is Ready to Burn certified wood and manufactured solid fuels available for purchase.
3. Use the stove in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The HETAS Advice Hub has a range of top tips for stove users.
4. Avoid slumbering a stove overnight – this is when a fire is left for overnight burning to be revived in the morning without the need for relighting.

Anyone living in West Yorkshire who has fire safety concerns can request a free Safe and Well visit from WYFRS fire prevention team if they meet the eligibility criteria. 

As part of the visit, the team will identify any potential fire risks in the home, help residents put together an escape plan and ensure they have working smoke alarms.

Those wanting to find out if they are eligible can call 0800 5874536 or complete an online form here. Anyone who is deemed as being low risk, WYFRS offer a free interactive online resource to help residents to conduct their own fire safety checks.