Getting answers: how to prevent chimney fires | News


SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)–Temperatures have been dropping to the point when many of us are starting to turn on the heat to take the edge off. Warmth from the fireplace might sound like a good idea, but there are some steps you should take first to avoid a chimney fire.

Western Mass News is getting answers on how you can keep your house both warm and safe.

“It’s ramping up big time right now,” said Jim Walling, owner of Fire Safe Chimney Services.

It is officially fall and temperatures outside are getting cooler, which means many people are looking to heat their houses for the first time since last winter. For some, that means using a fireplace.

Fire Safe Chimney Services in Ware is getting flooded with calls as people want their chimneys cleaned before winter arrives.



“We would prefer a much earlier than we do we usually try to get them in like May, June, that sort of area. But really, these kind of weeks where the temperatures are in the 30s when we wake up, yeah the phone rings kind of off the hook at that point. That’s really when everyone is like ‘Oh shoot, I forgot to do this.’

Walling told Western Mass News chimneys that are not properly cleaned before use can cause chimney fires. The risks for fires are not always easy to spot.

“A good indication if something is wrong is if they look at the face of the fireplace and they can see black smoke above the fireplace, like standing on the brick, that’s an indication that their chimney and their fireplace are not working properly,” said Walling.

Springfield Fire Captain Drew Piemonte said his department responded to several house fires last year because chimneys were not properly inspected.

“Chimney fires are directly tied into maintenance on the chimney, if you are not properly maintaining your chimney and having it annually inspected and maintained and that’s the way to find the most problems with chimney fires,” said Capt. Piemonte.

This uptick in chimney fires may be a result of the pandemic.

“People that haven’t ever had interest in things like this before do now and it’s because they are spending time at home,” said Walling…So we have been seeing a lot more people who say “Oh I have never used it or I haven’t used it in 10 years can you come check it out for us,” said Walling.

Capt. Piemonte also urges people to check their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before lighting a fireplace, but if you do experience a chimney fire call 911 immediately.

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