Fire Safety Reminder March 2015

We know of five devastating thatch fires since 12th February which have prompted us to stress to everyone again of the major causes of thatch fires and how best to reduce the risks.

Fires in Sopley in Hampshire, Yealmpton in Devon, Stonham Aspal in Suffolk, Mareham on the Hill in Lincolnshire and, on Friday 13th, at Redlynch in Wiltshire.

In Yealmpton, (picture above credit from Plymouth Herald), 8 fire crews were called in after the owners called in a chimney fire at their thatched home.

Please be reminded on the up to date information and advice on the main cause of thatch fires.  Based on Burgoynes forensic investigation of over 100 recent thatch Fires they state that:-

“In conclusion, the evidence from this survey provides a strong association between thatch fires that started in the thatch and the use of wood burning stoves with lined chimneys below the current recommended height. It further supports the view that the majority of fires associated with chimneys arise from ejected embers, often generated during lighting the fire, rather than defects in chimneys or heat conducted through the structure”

According to this (and we concur with these findings based on our experience) heat transfer is not the major problem.  Do not just put in a lined flue and ignore these main causes of thatch fires.

Thatch Fire Causes Chart

  • Sweep your chimney more than once a year, especially at this time of year when there may be a sudden cold snap and you may be lighting the wood-burner again.
  • Burn only seasoned wood and do not use your wood-burner for rubbish disposal.  Avoid burning wood which will tar-up the chimney and could cause a chimney fire.
  • If your chimney stack is old, get it checked by a professional (there are cameras which can check inside the chimney).  Take care if adding to height of chimneys, their structure and listed building consent must also be taken into account.
  • Fire retardant sprays – eg Magma Firestop (which is recognised by most specialist insurers) can help reduce the fire risk from external sparks and embers.

Download our Fire Safety Leaflet for more general advice on Thatch Fire Safety and the full Burgoynes Forensic Investigator’s report on the causes of over 100 thatch fires, so that you can understand the risks.

  1. Make an informed choice on your options on your thatch fire safety.
  2. Make sure you are covered by appropriate insurance.
  3. Continue enjoy your thatched property.

Much more information available on the website pages or feel free to contact us.


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