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Tips on preventing chimney fires

Chimney Fire
Posted at 1:38 PM, Sep 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-26 15:38:11-04

Chimney fires can be pretty common, but they are also very preventable. According to Mike McIntosh, assistant chief of fire prevention at Great Falls Fire Rescue, we have already had the first chimney fire of the season.

“A lot of times what causes a chimney fire is the buildup of creosote within the chimney stack and that’s basically when the fire goes up in there it can burn a lot hotter,” said McIntosh. “That can then get out of the chimney if there’s cracks or anything in it that can start a fire that can spread into the attic, or it starts a big jet fire that will blow out of the chimney stack.”

It is important to have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually because there are a variety of things that can cause chimney fires, even animals or debris in the chimney.

“One of the other things that leads to a chimney fire, that we see quite a bit, is actually birds building nests within the chimneys,” said McIntosh. “That’s one of the things you want to look at if it’s safe for you to get up on your roof and look down your chimney, if you see any birds nests or anything in there, make sure you clean that debris out.”

With temperatures getting cooler, more and more people are lighting their fireplaces.

“A lot of people are going to start wanting to use their gas fireplaces within their homes [and] one of the biggest things with that is to make sure your gas line is working and in proper order,” McIntosh said. “[Make sure] it’s not loose and spilling gas out into the house; not only can that make you sick, but it can also be very dangerous because it can cause a gas explosion.”

For more information call Great Falls Fire Rescue at 406-791-8971.