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posted: 11/5/2012 12:55 PM

Beware of chimney fires that spread to house

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Submitted by the Mount Prospect Fire Department

A small fire in the attic area of a home on the 1700 block of East Camp McDonald Road was quickly extinguished Saturday night.

Firefighters said they got the call at 10:18 p.m. and when they got there saw smoke near the fireplace chimney. No one was injured by the structural damage is estimated to be about $40,000.

The fire originated near the chimney enclosure in the attic area, and a chimney fire can easily travel outside the chimney enclosure to the attic of a home.

"Chimney fires are preventable," said Fire Chief John Malcolm. "It is imperative to have fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually by qualified individuals."

Cleaning chimneys will help eliminate creosote build up. The inspection should also include removal of the chimney cap to ensure there are no additional creosote deposits outside of the chimney lining. It is feasible that chimney linings/bricks can be cracked and creosote deposits can build up outside of the chimney linings.

Malcolm recommends adhering to the following fireplace safety tips.

• Keep flammable and combustible articles a safe distance from the open fire.

• Have your chimney professionally cleaned and checked annually. (If you use the fireplace frequently, have the chimney inspected often.)

• Make sure the fireplace is, indeed, designed to burn wood.

• Never burn paper or rags. If you use artificial logs, burn only one at a time.

• Do not burn charcoal in your fireplace at any time.

• Always use a fireplace screen in front of your fireplace.

• Do not leave your house or go to bed with the fireplace still burning.

• Put ashes in a metal container when you clean your fireplace.

• Make certain your smoke detectors are working.

• Make absolutely certain that children are always supervised when the fireplace is lit.

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