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An urgent appeal is being made by Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), after receiving a high volume of call-outs to chimney fires over the weekend.
As temperatures drop, more people are turning to alternative ways to heat their homes, but chimneys have the potential to cause further damage if they are not maintained and inspected properly.
Safety officers at KFRS are calling on owners of properties with open fires to ensure their chimneys are properly swept before use.
Since Friday, crews have attended to seven chimney fires across Kent, including one in North Street, Ashford at 5.23pm on Friday.
Two vehicles from Ashford fire station, one fitted with a ‘cherry picker’ arm for use at height, attended the scene for almost one hour.
Stuart Skilton, head of community safety at KFRS, said: "These incidents have the potential to do a lot of damage to your property.
"It can also put your family at risk if it spreads, as just three breaths of toxic smoke from a house fire can be deadly.
"With some simple maintenance, open fires and wood-burning stoves can provide a cosy setting for winter celebrations – but make sure you follow our safety advice.
"Please don’t let fire ruin your Christmas."
To find a certified chimney sweep visit the Institute of Chimney Sweeps website here
Kent Fire and Rescue Service offer free safety advice call 0800 923 7000 or click here for further information.
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