Firefighters urge chimney safety in colder months ahead

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s the time of year when firefighters want to warn people about some of the trickiest fires of all…chimney fires.

The Champaign Fire Department says the toughest thing about chimney fires is, many times, people don’t know it’s happening until they smell it…or their neighbors see it. By the time that happens, it can be serious.

They say upkeep on your fireplace and any heating appliance, is crucial.

“It’s not just the appliance itself failing,” said Deputy Fire Marshall Robert Simmons, “it’s human involvement, or a lack of maintenance, or a lack of proper use that typically causes those fires.”

He recommends getting your chimney and fireplace examined and cleaned once a year, before you start using it for the season.

We spoke with a professional chimney sweep, who offered these tips:

  • Professional work is needed, because there’s no way to see flammable chimney clutter from the fireplace or the top of the chimney.
  • The most common debris found in chimneys are squirrel or bird nests, twigs, and leaves
  • Don’t use bad wood to light your fireplace. Bad wood includes green wood or pine wood.
  • The care you need depends on what type of chimney you have, and what it’s made of.

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