Fire chiefs issue wood burning stove warning after blaze

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Fire chiefs are warning people in South Tynesiders to take care when using outdoor wood burners after a blaze destroyed two motorbikes and a car.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service bosses are urging people to be aware of the dangers when using the burners after a recent fire in Sunderland.

Watch Manager Nicole Mordecai said: “If people are using wood burners outside they should always make sure they are kept well away from combustible materials such as petrol cans. It only takes one spark to start a fire.

“Every home should also have smoke alarms fitted on every level of the property. Working smoke alarms give you vital time to escape the fire and call 999. They really can be the difference between life and death.”

David Roberts was working on his motorbikes in the yard at the rear of the house in Sorley Street, in the Millfield area, on January 19 when the wood burner set light to a petrol container which was nearby.

The resulting fire destroyed two motorbikes, a car and two windows in the single storey extension at the back of the house.

Two crews from Sunderland Central and Farringdon community fire stations were called to the address at 8.50pm.

The house did not have existing smoke alarms which would have alerted the family to the fire earlier.

Belinda Roberts said: “It was scary. If it wasn’t for my son running into the living room and screaming ‘get out, the house is on fire’ we would not have known about it.

“We’ve learned our lesson and I will never allow a wood burner to be used again. I also recommend everyone to have smoke alarms fitted and to test them regularly.”