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Fire starts in home after card put in front of fireplace
A FIRE started in a family's home in High Wycombe this morning after a dad put a piece of card in front of an open fire in his lounge before going to bed.
Two crews from High Wycombe Fire Station were called to Baronsmead Road at about 3.30am.
Red Watch Manager Andy Ward said: "Before going to bed, he placed a piece of card in front of his open fire as it was not completely out.
"He awoke to the smell of smoke because the card had caught fire and then set fire to the wooden mantel around the fireplace and a picture frame on the wall."
The fire was out on arrival, but firefighters ventilated the house to clear away the smoke.
The smoke alarm in the house did not have any batteries in so they fitted 10-year alarms.
Andy said: "Under the circumstances, this could have had serious consequences for the man, his wife and their young family, and we are relived that no-one was hurt.
"It is really important to have working smoke alarms in your home, and to check them regularly to make sure they work.
"As winter approaches, we would also like to remind people to take care when having open fires."
Andy offered the following advice:
•Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
•Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
•When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only. Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper.
•Do not overload the grate or appliance. Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires.
•Have your chimney swept at least once a year – and at up to four times a year if you regularly burn wood.
•If you have recently opened up and started to use a fireplace, make sure it is inspected by a qualified person.
•Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
If you would like Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service to carry out a free safety check in your home, fitting free smoke alarms where needed, ring 01296 744477, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bucksfire.gov.uk/bucksfire/free
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