From Staff Reports
CUMBERLAND — A rash of home fires involving chimney fires has been occurring during the first winter cold snap of the season. State Fire Marshal William Barnard is stressing the importance and value of having chimneys and flues properly inspected.
“The warmth of a fireplace or wood stove in the home should be an enjoyable experience; however, all too often the proper inspection process is overlooked, which can lead to tragedy. Citizens should take the necessary steps to ensure their safety by having chimneys properly inspected and maintained to protect themselves from the dangers of a home fire,” said Barnard.
These basic guidelines can protect resident from the effects of a chimney fire.
•Ensure chimneys are inspected and maintained annually or more frequently if used as the primary heating source.
•Never use a flammable liquid to start a fire. Only use combustible materials like newspaper, kindling or approved fire-starting products to safely create a fire in a fireplace or wood stove.
•Use properly sized fireplace screens or enclosures.
•Keep combustibles at least 3 feet away from the source of heat.
•When disposing of cooled ashes, do not use paper or plastic containers to remove them, instead use a metal container. Ashes will insulate hot embers long after the fire is considered out.