Sharp rise in house fires sparks warning from Warwickshire-based insurer - The Leamington Observer

Sharp rise in house fires sparks warning from Warwickshire-based insurer

Leamington Editorial 20th Dec, 2020   0

A SHARP rise in house fires has sparked a warning from a Warwickshire-based insurer.

NFU Mutual, whose HQ is in Tiddington, has issued a Christmas chimney fire warning for homeowners following an 11-fold increase in the cost of home fires caused by multi-fuel stoves, log burners or open fires.

The warning comes as bookings for chimney sweeping appointments have dropped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company paid out £8.4million for home fires which began in the fireplace in 2019, averaging just over £45,000 per property – nearly three times higher than in 2018.

Around 1.5million households have wood burning stoves and they continue to increase in popularity across both town and country, with 200,000 sold each year.

Spokesman Phil Cooper said: “We’re worried about the impact of the pandemic on chimney health and fires. The real cost of a fire is the danger to life and the emotional impact.

“If it is safe for you to do so in line with government advice, ensure the chimneys and flues are kept clean, well maintained and swept on a regular basis by a professional chimney sweep, particularly if they are being used more than usual this year.

“Make sure you check for birds’ nests, and do not over-feed the fire, which are also common causes of fires which start in the chimney.”

NFU Mutual fire safety tips include booking a professional sweep twice a year, routine checks around structural soundness and maintenance, regularly checking and renewal of insulated lining, and installing a bird guard to avoid chimney nests.

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