Warnings to prevent Oxfordshire chimney fires

Fire experts in Oxfordshire are advising people to take extra precautions to prevent chimney fires.

The Fire and Rescue Service attended 96 chimney fires in the county between 1 January and 31 March 2011.

Risk reduction manager Stuart Garner said: "Cold weather can increase the risk of fire, with residents enjoying a log fire and portable heaters".

Residents are advised to keep embers under control and to use fire guards to prevent sparks escaping.

Mr Garner added: "I would strongly recommend that you have your chimney swept regularly and only burn suitable fuel.

"Do not overload your fireplace and make sure your fire is out before you leave the house or go to bed.

"When using a portable heater remember to unplug them before you go out or go to bed and keep away from curtains, furniture and other flammable materials."

Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: "If everybody listens to the advice provided by our Fire and Rescue Service, particularly when heating their home, keeping warm and cooking, many accidents can be avoided."

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