Checks on chimneys, fireplaces urged

A series of blazes sparked by chimneys and fireplaces has prompted a fire chief to warn Northlanders to get their fireplaces checked out.

Kaikohe fire chief Bill Hutchinson said the onset of cold weather often brought a spike in the number of house fires as fireplaces which had been disused all summer were relit.

The Kaikohe Fire Brigade stopped a fire in a Heke St home last Friday from damaging more than the lounge and part of the roof but an Omapere family were not as lucky, losing their rented home and all their possessions in a fire in mid-May.

The Kaikohe fire appeared to have been caused by a combination of an incorrectly installed fireplace and a blockage concentrating heat where the chimney passed through the roof. The Omapere blaze started after a fireplace was used for the first time since the previous winter.

As well as advising fireplace and chimney checks, Mr Hutchinson urged everyone to have working smoke alarms in case a fire broke out.

- Northern Advocate

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