Advice to prevent thatch fires

Firefighters in Norfolk have called on thatched property owners to take extra care as they use their wood burners and chimneys for the first time this winter.

Between April 2009 and June 2010 there were eight thatched building fires in the county, each costing more than �40,000 in fire service costs.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up with colleagues across East Anglia to promote fire safety in thatched properties and have produced the Thatched Property Safety Guide.

Doug Underwood, from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said 90pc of thatch fires were caused by faults in the flue or chimney and were preventable.

“The emotional and financial cost of a thatch fire can be particularly high and we are determined to try and work with owners to prevent such fires from happening in the first place. Together with our colleagues across the region we developed the Thatched Property Safety Guide, which we hope will help reduce fires in these types of properties. Working together has given us an opportunity to pool valuable resources and help us get these important messages out to the public across our region,” he said.

Thatch owners are recommended to sweep their chimney regularly, install smoke detectors in the roof space, avoid having bonfires nearby, and regularly check the roof for vermin.

For more information, visit or call 0800 917 8137.