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REPORTING · 14th October 2015
Walter McFarlane
The Kitimat Fire Department are reminding home owners that heat their homes with wood stoves to make sure their chimneys are clean following a chimney fire in town at the beginning of October. They respond to around five active chimney fires per year.

“Every year it seems we have a number of those and it seems that there are more and more people burning wood,” said Deputy Fire Chief of Prevention, Peter Bizarro.

He expressed Chimney Fires can be prevented, no one wants to experience a chimney fire and a chimney fire can spread to the rest of the home. He stated small chimney fires which do not spread are also not a good sign.

Chimney Fires are caused by a build up of creosote along the chimney walls. This is caused by un-burnt materials accumulating along the chimney walls. The substance is sticky and can easily catch fire. Burning unseasoned wood and having a fire burning at low temperatures cause this build up.

Bizarro advised making sure chimneys are cleaned at least once or twice a year to prevent a chimney fire.

Bizarro explained a chimney fire is recognizable with a dramatic show of flames coming out of the top of the chimney or dark smoke. A chimney fire sounds like a roaring sound inside the fire place.

If it does occur, evacuate the home, call the fire department and make sure the air supply to the chimney is cut off if it is safe to do so. They suggested spraying the roof with a garden hose as a prevention technique, although it is something the fire department can do. When the fire department arrives, direct them to the site of the fire.

In addition, the Fire Department is recommending having a smoke detector in each sleeping area as a part of last week’s Fire Prevention Week, “Hear the beep when you sleep.”