Chimney fire warning

BALLYMENA’S Fire station commander Archie McKay has warned local residents to have their chimneys swept twice a year to prevent fires.

The warning came as the local fire service had to close a section of Mount Street last Tuesday morning to deal with a chimney fire.

Smoke from the fire had engulfed the street and the roundabout at Parkway and was an illustration of the danger and disruption chimney fires can cause.

Speaking at the scene Mr McKay told the Times that homeowners with working chimneys need to ensure that it is swept of any blockages.

He said: “Whenever I started 20 years ago there was maybe four or five chimney fires a night, now if there’s two a week in this station it’s a rare occurrence.

“However, when it’s an old house with a long flu it can be quite dangerous, some people think that if they leave a chimney fire, they’ll be fine but some of the fire may spread.”

Mr McKay said that not only can the blockage cause a fire but it also can lead to problems with carbon monoxide.

He added: “My advice for anybody, is, get it swept twice a year by a professional. With the dangers associated with Carbon monoxide, any one with a gas, oil or coal fire and use the chimney, should make sure the flu is clear.”