This website works best using cookies which are currently blocked. Allow cookies? Allow More info

Listen to this page

Text size A A A Accessibility

Chimney Fires Safety Advice (Whitby)

18th March 2009

Following a series of chimney fires in and around the Whitby area, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) would like to issue some fire safety advice for local residents.

NYFRS has already attended seven chimney fires around Whitby, Lythe and Robin Hoods Bay this year, with the winter months generally being the busiest due to the cold weather. Usually, chimney fires present little risk to homes, but on rare occasions they can start fires in roof spaces which can quickly spread.

Mark Naylor, Station Manager for Whitby said: “Crews from Whitby, Lythe and Robin Hood’s Bay have already dealt with seven incidents this year. On most occasions, chimney fires and related fires present a small risk to property if dealt with quickly. However, left unattended they could develop into a serious property fire. We would therefore urge residents to follow some simple advice that could prevent a chimney fire, or related fire, starting.

“Chimney fires often start due to poor maintenance, with a build up of soot and tar going unnoticed until the cold weather arrives. You can greatly reduce the risk of having a fire by ensuring that chimneys are swept on a regular basis. We would also like people to remember store solid fuel such as wood or coal well away from their chimney system. This fuel can heat and ignite if left too close to systems such as solid fuel burning stoves, causing a potentially serious fire.”

Advice to Households
Regular sweeping and maintenance of chimneys and flues eliminates the build up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas fired systems. It also clears obstructions such as bird and animal nests, leaves and debris.

  • Chimneys using smokeless fuel should be swept at least once a year.
  • Chimneys using bituminous coal should be swept at least once a year.
  • Chimneys using wood should be swept quarterly, when in use.
  • Chimneys using oil should be swept at least once a year.
  • Chimneys using gas should be swept at least once a year.
  • Flues and the ventilation for flues and chimneys should be inspected at least once a year.
  • Check the roof space regularly, when a fire is lit, to ensure that smoke is not leaking into the roof space.

Carbon monoxide, known as the ‘silent killer’, is present when fuel is burnt on an open fire, or in a gas appliance. Tragically, every year, people lose their lives to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Regular cleaning of chimneys and flues reduces the risk of dangerous fumes entering the home.

Chimneys should be swept by a competent contractor to BS6461. For details contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on freephone 0800 833464 or visit

Back to news

Breaking news Rss
On Call (Retained) firefighter recruitment
On this page you can find out more about the Read more
Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer
Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Read more