Chimney Fires - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Chimney Fires

A family just outside of Pine Island is dealing with a terrible house fire--that started in the chimney. It happened around 7:45 Wednesday morning on the 9000 block of 110 Avenue Northwest. The south wall and the roof were damaged, so far there is no dollar amount on the damage.

There are 50,000 heating fires in the U.S. each year and 86 percent of those are chimney fires.

Assistant Fire Marshal, Larry Mueller of Rochester Fire Department says, "In the U.S., last year there was over $300 million worth of damage caused by heating fires. In Minnesota is $3.5 million."

In 2008, an unclean chimney left a couple from dodge county with $50,000 of damage. In 2009, a Predmore homeowner suffered $12,000 dollars of fire damage due to a plugged chimney.

Mueller explains, "When a chimney fire occurs typically they stay within the flu or stays within the chase of the chimney and often times they are difficult to detect, because they are part of the exterior of the structure, there's generally no smoke detection in there."

"And the most dangerous part of these types of fires", states Mueller, "They're already well developed before any time of notification is given to either the residents or the fire department."

In 2010, Minnesota had 254 chimney fires... over a quarter of which could be avoided by proper cleaning and maintenance.

Mueller talks about the importance of the upkeep of chimneys, "Have it inspected before the heating season begins. Making sure it's clean and then burning only seasoned wood. By seasoned it has to be aged a minimum of a year. When it's seasoned that long it prevents the creasult buildup in the chimneys and that is what's causing the fires."

You should also ensure that you have adequate carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home...one on every level and preferably one in every room. Make sure you test the smoke detectors and change the batteries every 6 months.

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