In 2001, there were 665 fire incidents involving solid fueled appliances, fireplaces, and chimneys. These fires were responsible for 20 injuries, 1 fire death and resulted in $3.2 million in property losses. These incidents make up 45% of all fires linked to heating systems.
Over the last several weeks, the Beverly Fire Department has responded to a number of problems involving fire places and chimneys. Two of the incidents were fires that began in fireplaces. Wood stoves, pellet stoves and other alternative heat sources can be valuable sources of warmth this winter as long as they are used wisely.
For those going out and buying those items now, it’s important to purchase a wood or coal stove approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory or another recognized testing laboratory. They will also need to visit the building inspectors office to file for a permit and the installation itself must be inspected.
For those firing up the fire place:
·Chimney’s and flues should be inspected annually. If cracks are present or joints are poor, heated gases and flames can extend into the house.
·Use a fireplace screen. Flying sparks and embers can make their way to the floor.
·Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working order.
·Never leave children unattended near a fireplace or stove.
·Ashes removed from stoves and fireplaces should be placed into a metal bucket with a metal lid and placed outside. The ashes and embers can remain hot for several days so it is important to keep them well away from combustibles including fences and your house.