Regular maintenance key to fireplace safety - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Regular maintenance key to fireplace safety

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Fire officials are asking people to be careful before using their fireplaces. This warning comes after they determined Tuesday night's house fire in north Lubbock County started in the fireplace.

"The most important thing is you want your chimney to be clean of any creosote stuff because the more creosote you have it becomes a fire hazard," said Shane Marr. Marr is the manager at Fireplaces Unlimited. "It can ignite real quick and go. People have been asleep at night and it will just start all of a sudden. Embers will get up in there and hit the right spot and it creates a big mess."

Creosote is a tarry substance that is produced when wood burns. It is the same thing responsible for the flavor you taste when you eat something smoked. It sticks to the walls of the chimney and can congest your fireplace to the point where smoke can't escape.

"You want to have your chimney cleaned every couple of years depending on how much you use it if you're burning wood," he said. "You want to have a really good chimney sweep come in every so often and clean it out."

Shane says the process takes around two hours to complete.

"You want them to check and see if you have some kind of spark arrester or something to keep the animals out, they love getting in chimneys."

There are some things that you can do for yourself.

"You want to gauge it. You can put a flashlight in there but you want to take something and reach up through the damper and see if you have soot build up. Any kind of soot build up is bad."

Shane says ultimately you should leave the cleaning up to a professional and it's important to make sure your family is safe.

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