CHESTER’S Lower Bridge Street had to be closed to traffic this lunchtime (Friday, January 16) after a chimney fire at Chester’s historic Bear and Billet pub.

The landlady had not long made the fire in the grate when a passerby reported flames coming out of the chimney pot. She quickly threw water on the fire to extinguish it and called Chester Fire Service.

Fire crews in a hydraulic platform and a normal fire engine were called at noon. Police sealed off the road to traffic at its junction with Castle Drive and Pepper Street/Grosvenor Street.

A firefighter was raised alongside the chimney pot and squirted water on the glowing embers. Watch manager Chris Durkin explained that soot had ignited between the flu lining and the chimney pot due to the heat.

The chimney pot was removed for safety reasons as it was cracked, although this is believed to have been the case prior to the incident.

Mr Durkin said there was no blame implied with regards to the pub management because the chimney was regularly swept.