Essex firefighters tackle chimney blaze at Little Sampford thatched cottage

Fire engine

Fire engine - Credit: Archant

Firefighters extinguished a chimney fire on Thursday afternoon (October 29) at a thatched cottage in Little Sampford.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) sent two crews from Saffron Walden to the incident at 3.45pm and using a thermal imaging camera and chimney rods, firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze by 4.36pm.

ECFRS have issued the following advice for people living in thatched properties:

It is important to insulate the chimney flue to prevent the heat from transferring into the thatch layer. This is especially important when a solid fuel or wood burner is installed as they burn at higher temperatures than conventional open fires.

Have the chimney swept regularly by a qualified chimney sweep. A chimney in regular use should be swept twice a year.

Only burn seasoned wood.

Have the chimney inspected by a qualified chimney engineer.

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If you have a spark arrestor fitted clean it regularly. This should be done every three months on chimneys in regular use and the arrestor should be taken down to clean.

Fit a bird guard to deter birds from building nests in chimneys.

Develop a fire plan for your home.

Smoke alarms should be installed throughout your home. If you have a loft space then an interlinked smoke alarm should be installed which is linked to at least one other within your home.

Be careful when using blowtorches or heat guns (if plumbing or painting etc).

ECFRS have also issued a special information pack for thatched property owners to fill in, which will give the first crews to arrrive all the information they need to quickly and effectively tackle the fire.

The pack can be downloaded from the ECRFS website at