The Service has issued safety advice to owners of thatched properties following a fire which destroyed a thatched pub in North Bovey on Wednesday, 13th January.
Ten fire engines went to the incident at the Ring of Bells pub, fire crews worked throughout the night to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to nearby thatched properties.
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.
80% of thatched properties in the UK are within Devon & Somerset.
Marc House, Community Safety Prevention Manager explains: “Fire in a thatched roof is difficult to detect and once started is almost impossible to control. Once a fire has taken hold within a roof it will spread rapidly, due to the very nature of how thatch burns and detection is often too late and invariably devastating!
“A thatched home can be ruined not only by the fire but by the amount of water needed to put it out, within an ancient cottage water can dissolve old cobb walls as well as causing serious water damage throughout.
“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn. If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly.”