The arrival of fall also comes with a rise in chimney fires. Chimney fires are a result of the build up of creosote in the flue, a highly combustible substance and can accumulate in many forms. Poor ventilation resulting in a restriction of air supply, burning wet wood, failing to perform regular chimney cleanings as well as a lack of proper temperature maintenance can all result in the build up of creosote. It is important to adhere to all of these safety precautions when owning a wood burning stove or fireplace and to always clean chimneys before firing them up for the upcoming winter months.
Identifying a chimney fire:
Chimney fires often exhibit a low rumbling or roaring sound, many say are similar to the sound of a low-flying plane or a nearby train. Sparks or flames can be visible exiting the top of the chimney, smoke emanating from the heating device or through openings in the structure, as well as wall discoloration adjacent to the chimney are all signs pointing to a fire in the chimney. Keep in mind that these are the most common factors that indicate a chimney fire and they can be in progress even without these warning signs.
If you become aware of a fire in your chimney and if it is safe to do so, throw a cup of water into your firebox, close the damper on your fireplace, and don’t delay to call 911.