HETAS urges wood-burning stove users to heat homes safely following bungalow fire

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As the cost-of-living crisis continues, many homeowners are looking to alternative ways to heat their homes. Solid fuel appliance use is on the rise; but so is the risk of chimney fires, hence the importance of following appropriate safety advice.

Following a devastating incident at an elderly lady’s home, we are urging those with wood-burning stoves to note this rare but extreme example and ensure that they are following precautions to keep their homes safe.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) attended the incident in Gateshead to find the bungalow engulfed in flames. HETAS is now urging homeowners to be extra cautious when it comes to placing wood fuels, clothes or other flammable materials in close proximity to their appliance.

Bruce Allen, CEO, urges:

While cases this extreme are very isolated, the images of the lady’s home are devastating and it pains us to see incidents like this where the damage and emotional upset could potentially have been avoided. We would like to take this opportunity to raise awareness about how it can only take one errant ember to spark a disaster.

Keeping furniture or fuel too close, or drying clothes directly next to the fireplace, can create conditions that can allow a major fire to start in your home. Stay safe and always avoid placing ignitable objects on or near the designated hearth area on which the appliance sits – but also check your stove manufacturer’s instructions which will provide clear guidance on combustible materials; and be sure you stick to them.”

Most fires in the home are preventable and there are many simple precautions which you can take to reduce the risk to you and your family. One of the main being, don’t skip your annual chimney or flue sweep. Maintenance of your appliance is essential to boost the efficiency of your wood burner. At HETAS, we recommend booking your chimney sweep at least once a year, depending on how much you use it may mean you need to book more often. Finally, be mindful regularly check your carbon monoxide (CO) alarm and ensure not to obstruct or remove it so that your family remains safe and always protected.

You’ll find more tips and advice on staying safe this winter on the HETAS advice hub and further wood fuel advice on the Woodsure advice hub


HETAS, Severn House, Unit 5 Newtown Trading Estate, Green Lane, Tewkesbury, GL20 8HD