Fire services warn of rise in chimney fires as fireplaces and candles become more popular

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Winter is the most popular time of the year for people to relax in front of the fireplace, but fire crews are warning that also makes it one of the busiest times of the year for them to be called out.

They have seen a rise in residents cutting corners when it comes to heating their homes as energy prices rise.

Recent government figures show there are 7,000 chimney fires every year. Half of those happen between January and March, causing hundreds of injuries and thousands of pounds of damage. 

As rising energy bills force people to look for alternative ways of heating their homes, such as candles and portable heaters, fire services have told ITV News they are concerned that the number of incidents could increase even further.

One of the key ways of fire prevention is keeping your flue clean with a professional sweep like Katie Foster.

How does a chimney fire start? Professional chimney sweep Katie explains:

Chimney sweeps say they are busier than ever and some log burner installers say they are booked for months to come.

Tina Collett, Prevention Team Leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We do see an increase in chimney fires when the weather gets colder as people utilise their fireplaces more.

“Some people may also be considering using their fireplace for the first time in a while as a way of avoiding rising energy prices.

“We know times are tough and people may not be able to afford to pay for a professional chimney sweep, but we do think it is important for people’s safety at home to make sure that their chimneys have been well swept and maintained before using them, particularly if they have not been used in a while.

“Some of the most devastating house fires have started in chimneys, and it is simply not worth ignoring the risks before Christmas. We want all households to have a happy and safe Christmas.”