Owners of thatched roofs urged to carry out safety checks to prevent fires

Owners of homes with thatched roofs are being urged to carry out regular checks around the home in order to prevent potentially devastating fires after two incidents within Cambridgeshire in under a month.

The incidents, in Papworth St Agnes in April and Great Gransden last week, saw fires severely damage the houses after catching the thatch alight.

A fire investigation from both incidents was undertaken and the most probable cause of both were sparks from both chimneys.

Head of Community Fire Safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Group Commander Kevin Napier, said: “Nationally, the most common cause of thatch roof fires is the transfer of chimney heat. As a thatched roof is designed to shed water, this type of fire is always notoriously difficult to extinguish once the fire has taken hold.

“Good housekeeping and an awareness of potential dangers when maintaining a thatched roof property are essential to ensure that a fire can be prevented where possible. This includes regular checks on electrical fittings, regular chimney inspections, ensuring the property has working smoke alarms fitted correctly and that any work carried out in and around the property is done so in a manner that is considerate of the thatch.”

For more information on how to safely install and maintain chimneys and fires in your home and prevent a fire, you can download the free online guides available at www.HETAS.co.uk. You can also find our online guide on thatched roofs here.