Firefighters have issued a warning to owners of thatched properties.
The warning comes following a fire which destroyed the Ring of Bells pub in North Bovey yesterday (Wednesday 13 January).
Ten fire engines attended the incident and fire crews worked throughout the night to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to nearby thatched properties. A crew is still at the scene today to dampen down hotspots.
Firefighters covered neighbouring thatched properties with foam to prevent the fire spreading and worked hard to save as much of the building and its contents as possible.
The fire is believed to have started by a spark or flame from the chimney flue in the loft space igniting the underside of the thatched roof.
The roof and first floor of the pub were destroyed and there was severe water and heat damage to the ground floor.
Group Manager Matt Johnson, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The fire had broken through the roof before the arrival of our crews but firefighters worked extremely hard to salvage as much property from inside the building as they could and to stop it spreading to adjoining thatched properties.
“Our advice, particularly at this time of year, is to get your chimney swept and to seek professional advice about having flues checked and lined, especially in thatched properties.”
There have been at least nine chimney fires across the service area so far this week and these can cause extensive damage, particularly when they occur in thatched properties.
The following organisations can help you locate a qualified chimney sweep in your area:
The National Society of Master Thatchers (NSMT) www.nsmtltd.co.uk
The Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps www.apics.org.uk
National Association of Chimney Engineers (NACE) www.nace.org.uk
National Association of Chimney Sweeps www.nacs.org.uk
More information on thatch safety can be found here.