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AFD: Make Sure Your Chimney Is Clean, Safe
The Austin Fire Department wants people to safety use their fireplaces during this cold snap.
In 2011, 11 house fires started from chimneys, according to AFD.
Paul Wilson just bought his house, but before lighting a fire in his fireplace, he took a second look.
“I opened the damper and when I did it wouldn't open, we saw stuff coming out,” he said.
Wilson knows all too well the dangers of house fires. “I used to be a journalist so I went on a lot of house fires, more than a few of them were started by kerosene lamps, space heaters or improperly cleaned chimneys,” he said.
Area Wide Chimney Sweep owner, Charles Fisk says everyone should get their chimney cleaned after 50 fires.
“The number one horror story is they will buy a house, they've never used it before and assume that it's safe,” Fisk said.
In less than 30 minutes, he says, a chimney fire can spread throughout your entire house. His advice is to clean your chimney properly.
“We have these long poles with a brush that goes down through the flue and removes all the creosote. That's the black stuff that catches on fire,” Fisk said.
Wilson got his chimney cleaned and says it’s a Christmas present that was well worth the money.
The Fire department also sees a lot of fires from improperly discarded ashes. Be sure to put ashes in a non-combustible metal container with a lid, pour water into the container, and keep it outside away from your home or combustibles.
If there is a fire in your house, be sure to get everyone out and call 911.
By Christie Post