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Solihull News: Hotel chimney fire sparks safety calls; DORRIDGE: Firefighter issues warning to residents after evacuation of premises.

Byline: By Leda Reynolds

A SENIOR firefighter is calling on residents with open fires to carry out a safety check after a blaze broke out in the chimney of a prestigious Solihull hotel.

Staff at Hogarths, Four Ashes Road, Dorridge, were forced to evacuate on Tuesday last week following the fire which happened shortly after 3pm.

Station officer Steve Franklin, of Bickenhill Fire Station, is now calling on any residents with open fires in their homes to check them over to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.

"Chimney fires are rare but are more common at this time of the year when open fires are being used every day," he said.

"Anyone with an open fire needs to make sure they are maintained regularly and that they are using the correct kind of fuel. "If someone burns the wrong type of material, for instance, it can cause a build up of sticky residue."

Talking about the incident at Hogarths, Station officer Franklin said crews received reports that flames were coming out of the chimney.

"When we got there, a few of the staff were outside and it appeared there was a chimney fire," he said.

"Fortunately the hotel was never in any danger because chimneys are designed to contain these kinds of fires."

Mr Franklin said firefighters used a device similar to a chimney sweep which they inserted into the fireplace with a hose attached to it.

"At the same time, we put a ladder up on the outside of the chimney and poured water into it.

"I then had a look around with a thermal imaging camera to make sure there were no seats of fire elsewhere."

He said two fire crews from Bickenhill spent an hour at the scene making sure the blaze was out.

CAPTION(S):

CLEARED... Hogarths had to be evacuated after a chimney fire at the Four Ashes Road site.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 8, 2006
Words:317
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