Chimneys are one of the most common locations of residential structure fires, and as temperatures plummet and more people turn to stoves and fireplaces to help heat their homes, local emergency officials would like to remind the public that its time to brush up on chimney safety.
Jamesport Fire Department extinguished a chimney fire at a Peconic Bay Boulevard home on Monday. Firefighters responded with two engines to a 10:52 p.m. call and found the fire partially extinguished by the homeowner with embers blown out onto the wooden roof and surrounding yard. They extinguished the remaining fire and embers and inspected the chimney and premises.
“The residents’ quick recognition of the fire, swift evacuation of the premises and 911 activation allowed for the firefighters quick and effective extinguishment of the fire,” said JFD Chief John Andrejack. He urges residents to have their chimney serviced if they have not yet already this season, and to maintain regular servicing to prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America reports that creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper ventilation and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable, according to a Office of Fire Prevention and Control press release.
Here are some helpful safety tips compiled by the Office of Fire Prevention and Control:
- Have your chimney checked every year by a qualified chimney professional.
- Burn only well seasoned hardwoods
- Install a chimney cap.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector.
- Have your chimney sweep ensure that your chimney has an appropriate liner.
- Following a violent storm, earthquake, flood or lightening strike, have your chimney inspected for damage – inside and out.
If you have a wood or coal stove, be sure it is installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the stove and chimney connector. Place an approved stove board under the unit to protect the floor from heat and hot coals which might drop out.
Know what to do in case of fire. If you suspect a chimney fire, evacuate your home and call 9-1-1.