Lucky escape for man in blaze drama

Chimney fire on Park Terrace''w120311
Chimney fire on Park Terrace''w120311

A WHITBY man was left shaken after fire threatened to ravage his home as he sat oblivious to the danger inside.

Steve Upton, of Park Terrace, had a lucky escape after a soot plate in a log burner set alight.

However, the 53-year-old was completely unaware of the potential disaster and only learned of the blaze when firefighters knocked on his door.

Mr Upton, who works as an arson investigator for North Yorkshire Police, said: “It was so frightening, especially as I am so careful around fire.

“One of the neighbours has seen a lot of smoke and the fire brigade have turned up.

“I heard them knocking next door and I was just about to go into town when one of them asked if I had a log burner and had suffered any problems, which I didn’t believe I had.

“They came into the house and had a look around and took out the soot plate in the fire which was glowing and absolutely red hot.

“It is still bright orange now and carrying some heat.”

However, despite the drama, which took place on Tuesday morning, Mr Upton said his home escaped any damage and was only suffering from a lingering smell of smoke, which he attributed to the actions of the fire crews.

He added: “The fire brigade were absolutely superb.

“I know how dangerous fire can be and the consequences it brings through my job, but until something like this happens to you, that is when it really hits home.

“When you get a situation like this they really come into their own and I cannot praise them highly enough.”

Mr Upton’s close call follows two previous chimney fires in the Whitby area with bosses issuing a warning to residents to guard against potential future incidents.

The first fire took place in Grosmont when a chimney set alight after a build up of soot, with crews extinguising the blaze using rods and water.

Firefighters were also called to a serious chimney fire in Egton Bridge which was well alight, with the sheer heat causing a mirror on the chimney breast to crack.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue added: “Chimney fires are usually caused by a build up of soot in the chimney or flue and if this accumulates it cause a fire.

“Regular cleaning of chimneys and flues reduces the risk of dangerous fumes entering the home and gets rid of the build up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas fired systems.

“Chimneys should be swept once a year, with ventilation for flues and chimneys inspected at the same time.”