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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Chimney fire sparks safety warning

16/01/2015

firefighter's with ladder
Firefighters with ladder

Firefighters have issued a safety warning in the wake of an ‘explosion’ which caused a chimney to collapse in Longton.

"Using any kind of accelerant on a fire is an incredibly dangerous thing to do and it is fair to say that the occupants had a very lucky escape. I cannot stress enough the risks involved in using liquid fuel sources on a naked flame. Doing so can have serious – and even life-threatening – consequences." 

Station Manager Mark Walchester

The Service is urging people only to use appropriate materials such as dried wood kiln and kindling to stoke open fires in their homes.

The blaze broke out in a detached property on Spratslade Drive at 3.24pm yesterday.

The occupant had poured methylated spirits into the flue of a wood burner when the fire began to die out. Due to the level of alcohol contained in the highly flammable liquid, a vapour cloud shot up the flue, creating an explosion that was so strong it caused the chimney to collapse.

The residents, a male and female, immediately left the house and called 999.

Two crews and the Aerial Ladder Platform from Longton attended the incident. The fire was out on arrival but crews made the building safe before leaving the scene at 6.10pm.

Station Manager Mark Walchester said: "Using any kind of accelerant on a fire is an incredibly dangerous thing to do and it is fair to say that the occupants had a very lucky escape. I cannot stress enough the risks involved in using liquid fuel sources on a naked flame. Doing so can have serious – and even life-threatening – consequences.

"We would urge people to always follow manufacturers’ guidelines and to only use approved combustibles such as kindling and dried kiln wood. You are putting your life in your hands if you attempt to use anything else."