Every year, around eighty thatched properties in England experience a devastating fire. Although fires break out less frequently in thatched homes than other dwellings, fire in thatch is particularly destructive. The prevention of fire in thatched buildings, particularly those that are of historic importance, is a vital challenge for today’s conservators. Owners and prospective purchasers of thatched properties should address the question…
What are the Chances of This Property Catching Fire?
The reassuring answer is ‘very unlikely’ providing that care and understanding are applied with equal vigour.
With care, 90% of all fires in thatched properties are avoidable simply by understanding and managing the risk. Too many fires occur and too often they occur in recently refurbished properties where the risk could have been designed out.
The majority of thatch fires occur between September and Easter and coincide with cold snaps and holiday periods. Most thatch fires start adjacent to a working chimney. A thatch fire starts small and develops slowly, deep in the thatch and may smoulder undetected for days.
Poorly maintained single brick chimneys and deep, thick thatch can allow temperatures of the chimney stack to rise to a dangerous level where the thatch itself can catch fire.