Fire chiefs give tips on chimney safety

SOUTHWICK/GRANVILLE – Fall has just approached and local fire departments are urging awareness of the fire safety concerns they have during this time of year.

With outdoor air temperatures dropping, fire personnel expect that homeowners will begin to use their fireplaces. Maintaining their fireplaces is the most important thing fire officials will preach to the public.

Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson. (WNG File Photo)

“It’s definitely crucial for homeowners to get their chimneys professionally cleaned and serviced every year,”  said Granville Fire Chief Matt Ripley.

Ripley points out that it’s important to make sure people are burning dry-seasoned wood. Burning green wood and soft woods like pine can create more creosote. A dark type of oil that’s distilled from coal tar, creosote can build up and be the primary cause of a chimney fire.

Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson added that people should have their fireplaces, wood stove, and pellet stoves cleaned and inspected to make sure they’re free of cracks and blockage.

“Having it cleaned helps to remedy a lot of those issues,” said Anderson.

Anderson reiterated that ashes be disposed in metal containers and put outside away from stuctures and not left on a deck or porch or in a bag.

Ripley and the rest of his department have already been preparing for any potential chimney fires.

“We’re preparing ourselves for the chimney fire season,” said Ripley.

Being a more rural community than Southwick, residents in Granville tend to burn more wood and use their fireplaces a lot more. Ripley estimates that the Granville Fire Department reports to anywhere from six to 12 chimney fires a year.

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