Woodinville Fire & Rescue has responded to a number of chimney fires over the last few weeks as temperatures drop and homeowners use fireplaces to provide additional heat in their homes.
Over time, wood burning fireplaces and inserts can build up layers of creosote (the black substance on the walls of the fireplace and flue).
Any chimney that has not been cleaned and inspected in the last year has the potential for a chimney fire. Although many chimney fires may be confined to the chimney flue, it is common for the heat of the chimney fire to crack the flue and provide a way for the fire to extend to the wall or attic of the house. Within the last week Woodinville Fire & Rescue crews extinguished two separate chimney fires. In one instance fire spread to inside a wall and in the other instance under a floor. Each of these fires resulted in approximately $25,000 damage to the homes. The best way to prevent a fire is to have your chimney inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep. Any fireplace lining that has more than 1/4 of an inch of creosote buildup should not be used until cleaned. If you experience a chimney fire, call 911 immediately and evacuate the home. Do not try to extinguish the fire yourself.