AN elderly couple had their chimney destroyed after a fire in their home.

Firefighters tackle the fire in Sible Hedingham yesterday, January 26 at about 5.36pm.

Two crews from Sible Hedingham and Wethersfield worked to tackle the flames after an elderly couple were alerted to a fire in their home in Alderford Street.

When firefighters arrived at the property, they reported that there was a deep-seated fire in the chimney breast.

The fire had completely burnt through and destroyed a 400-year-old beam and had broken through the plaster.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and thoroughly checked the whole chimney and surrounding area to ensure there wasn't any fire spread or hot spots.

Essex Fire has reminded residents of the importance of chimney safety following the incident.

A spokesman said: “Have your chimney swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood.

“Do not stack fires too high and remember to let them burn down well before you go to bed.

“Use a fire or spark guard and inspect your chimney regularly, particularly in the roof space, to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.

“Avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly. Suitable seasoned timber must be used in all solid fuel stoves.”

For more information and safety advice regarding chimney fires visit

The spokesman also reminded the community to have working smoke alarms.

They said: “Do you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test your smoke alarms regularly?

“If you or someone you know hasn't got working smoke alarms at home, we can fit them for free.

“Please get in touch with our home fire safety team by calling 0300 303 0088 or by visiting”