Warning after log burner sparks house fire

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging residents with log burners and open fireplaces to take extra care following a house fire late last night.

The warning comes after a resident was woken in the night by their smoke alarm sounding when a pile of stacked firewood next to their wood burner caught fire.

Firefighters from Horsham and Billingshurst Fire Station were mobilised to the property on Wickhurst Lane in Broadbridge Heath shortly before midnight. Upon arrival they found a substantial fire in the ground floor lounge of the property and quickly got to work extinguishing the fire using two hose reels and a jet.

Richard Bradley, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Group Manager for Fire Safety, attended the incident last night. He said: “Fortunately the home owner had a working smoke alarm fitted and was alerted to the fire, despite already having gone to bed, and with the help of a neighbour had managed to escape from the property before crews arrived.

“Having a working smoke alarm gives you the earliest warning that something isn’t right, giving you the greatest chance of getting out of your property safely. Had this resident not had a smoke alarm in their property, the outcome would likely have been very different.

“The fire was started after a large pile of stacked wood next to the wood burner downstairs caught fire. We would encourage people who have log burners or open fireplaces to ensure that their fuel supply is stored safely away from the fire itself so as to prevent it igniting unexpectedly.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service recommends that all properties have a working smoke alarm fitted to each floor of the property, and that this is tested at least once a week. If you have an open fire place or log burner, please ensure fuel is kept in a safe area away from the heat source until you are ready to use it.

You can help prevent the spread of fire by ensuring you close internal doors before you go to bed and when you leave the property. A closed door can prevent the spread of fire and toxic gases by up to 20 minutes.

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